Monday, June 4, 2012

More of that Old Sincerity: The Origin Myth

From the archives of Geneva Convention, August 2005.

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Some More Notes on the NS

We're here, some of us are queer, and we aren't going anywhere.

The New Sincerity had its genesis in December of 2004. It began when I met Andrew Mister in San Francisco's Tenderloin district and proceeded to drink him under the table. He lost concentration during our last couple of rounds as he was trying to chat up a girl at the bar. I maintained focus on drinking my beer and whiskey. A photo-documentary of this event lives in the archives. After drinking, I had Thai food at a nearby all-night eatery. I left Andrew at the bar.

We talked a lot of shit about poetry we didn't like between drinks. We also sang David Bowie's "Life on Mars," though we couldn't remember all the lyrics. We watched a drag show. We almost broke a table. We also talked about what we wanted in contemporary poetry. Frank O'Hara said that only a few poets were more interesting than the movies. We believe that only a few poets are more interesting than David Bowie. At least right now. We're hoping to pull a few more New Sincerists out of the closet, those who are afraid of losing post-avant cred, or appearing too sentimental. Sentimental means "relating to sentiment." Sentiment means "feeling." We feel, dig?

Before our drinking battle, we exchanged manuscripts. The next morning, hung over and sipping Emergen-C, we read the poems and discovered that each of us was the other's favorite new poet. We seemed to see eye to eye on matters poetical. We wrote the sorts of poems that we wanted to read. We continued our correspondence and friendship. We began to notice other poets who seemed to want the same things from contemporary poetry--Joseph Massey, Charlie Jensen, Reb Livingston, Gina Myers, Laurel Snyder. Jeff Bahr, though not a New Sincerist, photoshopped a NS teeshirt on himself. Josh Hanson criticized us. Lots of other people just don't care. So it goes.

The New Sincerity went public in the late spring and early summer of 2005. I began writing little blips about it on my blog. In early July of 2005, Joe Massey wrote a controversial manifesto. Since then, not a day in the blogosphere goes by without a mention of the NS. I like this. It means people are paying attention. Not everyone agrees with us and that is okay. There are a number of skeptics. That too is okay.

We are not going anywhere. But we promise not to take over your town.

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