Sunday, March 11, 2007

When Poets Attack

So much for poets being mild-mannered, dreamy folk. Over at the NY Times, David Orr does a hatchet job on Dana Goodyear's recent article in the New Yorker on the Poetry Foundation. After thoroughly fisking Goodyear's arguments in that article, Orr turns to examine the role that the New Yorker plays in advancing the cause of modern poetry, pointing out that:

The New Yorker tends to run bad poems by excellent poets. This occurs in part because the magazine has to take Big Names, but many Big Names don’t work in ways that are palatable to The New Yorker’s vast audience (in addition, many well-known poets don’t write what’s known in the poetry world as “the New Yorker poem” — basically an epiphany-centered lyric heavy on words like “water” and “light”)

and then going on to talk about the New Yorker's tendency to publish poems by it's own staff, including Goodyear herself, whose poems, as Orr points out, have, since 2000 "appeared in the New Yorker more than Czeslaw Milosz, Jorie Graham, Derek Walcott, Wislawa Szymborska, Kay Ryan and every living American poet laureate except for W. S. Merwin".

Vicious, but beautiful.

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