Adam O'Riordan writing on Barack Obama's inner poet in todays Guardian books blog, speaks of the freshness of his conversational style, which (I think) appears to be the forthright human honesty of a seemingly normal person who has plucked the day by harnessing new medias and making them the vehicle for a message of hope and change by inclusion.
Instead of detached multi-millionaires relying on a rhetoric of agression and using one way monologic publishing to instil the fear of unseen forces amongst us, we now have (on the face of it) human normality wrapped in a message of hope; opening the vent of our hearing as we awake and cop on to the simple act of Communication, on the human level.
They who seek to rule by fear, do not like people talking to one another, and in the past in the press, politicians had it this way and we had to take their word that certain dangers existed which didn't. WMD etc. But now, with the net, we can speak amongst ourselves, check facts, pulll up information that would before have taken far longer.
Thus, the cute rich who had us running around chasing ghosts, mist and fabrications whilst staying one step ahead spreading untruths and confusion that manifests in a false fear of others - no longer hold civilisation to ransom.
Charles Bernstein who set up the world's first internet Poetics discussion group Buffalo Poetics list - which began as a small band of Robert Creely, Susan Howe, Pierre Joris, Alice Notley, Marjorie Perloff, Silliman, Keith Tuma and numerous other liberal American poetic greats -- is the man for accurate internet prophecy in relation to poetry and the web.
In his seminal I Don’t Take Voicemail paper, first delivered orally as “The Art Object in the an Age of Electronic Technology” -- presented at a symposium, sponsored by the Parsons School of Design, at the New School in New York, on April 16, 1994 - Bernstein lays out his vision of how this then, very new communication technology, will pan out and his poetical prophecy was accurate in many respects:
"The most radical characteristic of the internet as a medium is its interconnectivity. At every point receivers are also transmitters. It is a medium defined by exchange rather than delivery; the medium is interactive and dialogic rather thanOne of my favourites is the poetry of politician Robert Francis Fitzgerald Kennedy, a full blooded American with eight Irish great grandparents, along with his brothers, all poets. And it is in a brother Francis Fitzgerald's extemporised address in Indianapolis, breaking to a black audience the news of Martin Luther King's murder, that living poetry is as History itself:
unidirectional or monologic.....The potential for discussion and collaboration is appealing–the format mixes some of the features of correspondence with a discussion group, conference call, and a panel symposium such as this one (with the crucial difference that the distinction between audience and panel is eroded)."
'So ask tonight
return and say a prayer for the family
-- Yeah, it's true -- but more important
say a prayer for our own country,
Which all of us love -- understanding
and compassion can do the country good
In difficult times
...the majority of people in this vast
country who live together,want to improve
the quality of life and see justice for all
Human beings that abide by peace in our land.
So let's dedicate ourselves to what a Greek poet
said many years ago:
"tame the savageness of man and make gentle
the life of this world."
And my own humble prayer:
Strong is the power of our light.
The spiritual armour of goodness
Resisting rulers' wicked wiles
And the cult of men in darkness.
Within us beastial faith lies,
Learning truth in a fearless
Charm composed to invoke divine
Defence against all manner of evil
And inscribed upon Saint Patricks
Breastplate. A loricae. The snippet
Below, in druidic protection meter.
"I arise today
Through the strength of heaven
Light of sun
Radiance of moon
Splendour of fire
Speed of lightening
Swiftness of wind
Depth of the sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me."