Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bon Scott mentioned in NY Times poetry piece

Maybe the upper crusties of this world are starting to realize what we AC/DC fans knew all along; that Bon Scott was a great street poet. - Jon

Dream Logic

Published: February 17, 2008

“We poets in our youth begin in gladness,” wrote Wordsworth, who might have felt otherwise had he spent his own youth as an adjunct assistant professor of creative writing. If he’d done so, as many younger writers do nowadays, he’d probably have thought twice about pairing “gladness” with a job that often involves $50,000 in student loans and no health insurance. To be fair, it’s never been easy to be a young poet, and teaching creative writing is certainly safer than working as a roofer. Yet because most are neither wealthy (like the young James Merrill) nor constantly in jeopardy (like Villon), writers in their early careers today face a peculiar and sometimes unenviable set of circumstances. On the one hand, the proliferation of M.F.A. programs gives a poet the chance to make a sort-of living from his art; on the other hand, the insularity of that world can tax both an artist’s social skills and his resistance to fashion. Given these difficulties, it’s tempting to replace Wordsworth’s salute to youthful vitality with the 29-year-old Bon Scott’s less optimistic observation: “If you wanna be a star of stage and screen / Look out, it’s rough and mean.”

Continued at the NY Times.


lucazoid said...

Jon, I really like the link this article makes between "high art" and the "gutter poetry" of Bon. The difference is really so thin, and it consists not in the poetry itself, but in people's attitudes to it. The high art world is full of gatekeepers, who decide whether someone will be "in or out". And the music industry it seems is also, unfortunately, not always based on "merit".

And it's an interesting quote that the writer takes from Bon, because he was damn right - the whole star system is rough and mean, isn't it? Today I was down at the cemetery in Fremantle and I got chatting with a few fans about Bon, and about Heath Ledger, and the price of fame. These guys spend their lives inspiring others, but end up sacrificing their own. A kind of saint-hood / martyrdom??

Anyway, the reference to youthful-attitudes in poetry, and thinking about the kind of things Bon wrote about, made me think of this Chinese poem:

Written on the wall on my way to Boshan

As a lad I never knew the taste of sorrow,
But loved to climb towers,
Loved to climb towers,
And drag sorrow into each new song I sang.

Now I know well the taste of sorrow,
It is on the tip of my tongue,
On the tip of my tongue,
But instead I say "What a fine, cool autumn day!"

-(Xin Qiji, translated by Ye Mang)

faithhealer said...

You're spot on, that poem is very much Bon Scott - well I think so.