Saturday, February 17, 2007

Education vs Effort

Interesting discussion here which I got into late and probably should have stayed out of, but didn't.

Sometimes I just get sick of highly educated people telling lesser educated ones what they should or should not be capable of wanting and/or doing. In the end, it's motivation not money, effort not education and determination not destiny which drives people to accomplish whatever it is they've accomplished. A lack of education is a hinderance, a lack of time is a drawback, a lack of money is a drag, but none of those things are insurmountable and many good things can still take place in spite of all those supposed negatives.

Writing poetry would be one of those things. Writing poetry which other people can actually read and relate to is another. Being proud of who you are and accepting of yourself (even if no one else is) is a third.


Radish King said...

I think the only thing a person needs to be a poet is perverse desire. And nothing more. That's what keeps us going forward. Education has nothing to do with it.

Regards and thanks for your voice,

Lo said...

I can appreciate that, Rebecca. Sometimes it's as simple as having something to say, being unwilling or afraid to say it, and finding that poetry is a good way to say it safely.

I also find that the voices that interest me the most are usually not coming from the MFAs, the professors or the educators. They come from the street.

That could be simply because I don't identify well with the former or because I have spent so much more time with the street people than I have with the Tower dwellers.

The best poetry is about life and who better to hear about it from than a person who's lived a whole lot of it - some of it not so pleasant?


A. D. said...


Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

I'm not sure that anyone was asserting limitations on "lesser-educated" people, though I think the framing of some arguments made it seem that way. I think those individuals were actually coming from a political/philosophical platform attempting to stick up for some sort of disadvantaged collective. Perhaps that framing, rather than an individualistic one, was what caused the real rift in the discussion—many artists being in practice more individualistic, but politically collective-minded.

Like you said, "in the end" it comes down to the individual's motivation, etc., but perhaps in the beginning there can be incredible stumbling blocks that can seem to the collective-minded as unfairly forbidding (like illiteracy)—though exceptional individuals could overcome (and also, like you said, create superior works).

Certainly there are more "Tower" types writing in general, with their assumed gobs of writing time and higher educations, and being published (I think this is where the perceived injustice comes in), but, as you suggested, their actual reader appeal might be limited.

Enough of my babbling. Not surprisingly, I agree most with Rebecca's "perverse desire" comment. :-)