I can't believe the amount of energy being expended on this discussion about whether it is ethically right to borrow other people's words to create poetry.
How much poetry would we have to strike from the record if we decided people should only write what they have experienced firsthand?
That's what poetry is: using your imagination, speaking in, of, and about others, telling and retelling of stories. etc///oh, this is so boring to me to relate. I can't believe people debate this junk.
You know what's on the other side of that fence: censoring words. Telling poets what they can't say and what they can't use. There is nothing ethical about poetry. At the end of the day, all that should matter is what he made: was it beautiful, was it worthy, did the effort and energy amount to something that was more than the sum of the parts before...
What is this convoluted idea that we have a right to our stories? How did these poems help or hurt anyone who experienced Katrina? My guess is that they didn't do either, because it's poetry, not FEMA, not the Army Corps of Engineers, not insurance companies, not contractors putting in Chinese drywall. It's poetry. So, give me a break. I lost my home in Katrina. I have a story about my experience in the disaster. Does it bother me when people not from here try to tell it as if they were and get it all wrong? Sure, but I don't go around telling people what they can and cannot write. If the writing sucks, it'll come out in the end. Let it be noted that neither Young or McDaniel are from New Orleans. And neither Young nor McDaniel were the sole artists producing oral history projects following Katrina or writing poems in response to Katrina. Let it be noted that the Poetryfoundation and the national eye remains more focused on work coming from outside of New Orleans rather than trying to find out about poets and oral historians actually from New Orleans who are doing the work here.
Really, it's all a scam between these two to draw attention to their own egos. This discussion doesn't help any of us still trying to put the pieces of our lives together after the storm. So, FU poetryfoundation and your stupid article.
Here's where you can go, if you would like to be bored to death:
Reflections on found poetry and the creative process
Here's where you could go to actually make a difference:
“Poetry is never going to directly induce that level of change (nor should it, lest it become indistinguishable from those authorities it ought to upset), but it can remind people, and teach them to realize in practice, that things can be made—literally made—different, and differently.”