The annual Polar Bears’ Poetry Picnic has lost its way, says its former director.
Seymour K. Worthington Polar Bear, who was the chief organizer of the popular celebration from 2013-2015, says the picnic is being “led astray” by the “concept of openness” and the participation of non-poets and artists from other media and genres.
In an interview with Yannis Tavros on Toro Talk Radio yesterday, Worthington Polar Bear complained that the inclusion this year of short plays, face-painting, and acrobatics, will “diminish” the event and cloud the purpose of it, which was to celebrate the genre of poetry.
“It was established as a pure event, an event of pure poetry,” Worthington Polar Bear said. “Now, they’ve muddied the waters and it’s hard to tell what it is.”
While he stopped short of explicitly criticizing Kumaglak Nanuq Polar Bear, the event’s new organizer, Worthington Polar Bear took a direct hit at what he called “the forces of inclusion” and “the push to appeal to all species.”
“There is a reason this event was established by Polar Bears,” he told Tavros. “Polar Bears have a long and proud history as poets and as a species that appreciates poetry. Not all species are interested in poetry and that’s fine. But must we water down the genre in order to appeal to them? Surely we needn’t fill in all the lakes and ponds because some of us can’t swim,” he said.
Worthington Polar Bear was also critical of the event’s recent attempts to make itself appealing to The Park’s younger citizens.
“I believe strongly in exposing our young to the arts, not of exposing the arts to our young,” he said.