Although I am a member of what has become fashionably known as Generation X, my "style" is not en vogue. I have recently become aware that I write similarly to the 19th century French symbolist poets. This came not only as a surprise but quite a shock. I always considered myself a poet that was ahead of his time -- now I learn that I am some one to two hundred years late and inhabit the wrong continent. Experience enlightens pretentious youth.
My enlightenment has shown me that poetry and all art forms develop in cycles. Nothing ought to hinder this process; to classify the artist is to petrify him. While categorization may help introduce the novice to poetry, it ultimately restrains artistic development. When the poet and audience think in categories (e.g. at a reading somewhere in Caféville : Q: "Is he a neo-symbolist ? A: No, I believe him more akin to an angst-ridden free-styler...wouldn't you agree ?), the dialogue between them is ruined. Classification encourages pretentiousness and inauthenticity. Genuine artistic development occurs when the poet feels free to discover who he is creatively. Schematization impedes critics and scholars as well. They serve, after all, an equally important role as historians of creative development. Categories only serve dead poets well.
It has been four years since I first began to experiment with poetry. During that period, I was blind to the generation gap that exists in modern society. This "blindness" fostered my rebirth and sharpened my other senses. I listened closely : Baby boomers, from my perspective, embrace a yuppiesque existence that is contrary to everything sacred in this world. What they value simply isn't what my generation values. I attended a poetry reading recently and most of the poets of my generation were reading poems that I felt connected to. We had pain, love, resentment, alienation and hope all equally and beautifully represented. The Boomers read poems about ways to get better gas mileage in the beamer and the best commodities to buy if you're looking for a long term investment with a high yield. I don't envy them for their ability to sustain themselves as financially independent units. I just feel that they have lost their
love of life. To a point it seems that they are just going through the motions, reminiscing, not taking risks, and not aiming high. But maybe my senses are failing me...Maybe I have finally gone off the deep end...this essay may be further proof of my weakening mental capacity...maybe not...It's all a matter of perception...
One final thought on the term "Generation X" : How did this label
stick?! Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to be an "Xer"... But,
wait a minute... a Boomer named us that, and we need to define ourselves.
we can contest the term while embracing it. I think we should be known as Generation
X (and not Generation NEXT). My reason is much better than Coupland's. I
we should retain the label "Generation X" simply because that would
indicate that we are a generation, not without an identity, but a generation
that defies classification. When it's thought of that way it's not as insulting.
Still, one wonders, where are the Morrisons and Ginsbergs and the Kerouacs
my generation ? Maybe it's not that the Boomers grew up, maybe it's just that
they grew tired of fighting a battle for individuality they couldn't win.
one day our children will rebel in the way we have. In the words of the German
alternative band "Fury Against the Slaughterhouse" Every generation
got its own disease and I got mine. I believe every generation tries something
new that is something recycled... After all, I am just an nineenth century
French poet that writes through the eye of a disillusioned twentieth century
Gen Xer's eyes