January 13, 2014

"The poet laureate of the United States should also be the best poet in the country; if he isn’t, then the job is meaningless. "


"Make of your fingerprints the first draft of a revolt, when the follicles of capitalism’s hips falls on your school like angel dust, an army of unbranded jungle mouths will shout... "Youth Poet Laureate - Ramya Ramana - New York City Campaign Finance Board HT: Rob

"The current American poet laureateship is marked —marred, is more precise— not only by the kiss of death of being an official job but also by political correctness. As one runs down the list of American poets laureate, the only explanation for certain names appearing there is that they are women or black or otherwise “with the show,” as they say on the carnival grounds. Make the ostensibly sweet bow in the direction of political correctness, and art, like reality in the face of a social science concept, leaves the room. The list of American poets laureate has included the good, the mediocre, and the merely acceptable. But nobody who has uttered any truly heterodox views is asked to play at laureate. Heterodoxy is one of the things serious poetry is, or at least ought to be, about. The poet laureate of the United States should also be the best poet in the country; if he isn’t, then the job is meaningless.....

"What the good poets have always done, I believe, which is to take care of business. Business for the poet is to write as well as possible and leave the job of promoting poetry in a manner sure to vulgarize, if not utterly trivialize, it alone. The least one can do in this regard is, if offered the job of poet laureate of the United States, to turn it down, preferably in a wittily obstreperous way. More money and self-respect is to be earned selling ladies handkerchiefs." -- Thank You, No by Joseph Epstein

The current disappointment as poet laureate is one Natasha Trethewey who is predicably PC to the gunwales: Tretheway, 46, is a southerner through and through. She was born in Gulfport, Miss., which was also her mother's hometown. Her mother, Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough, was a social worker, a black woman who'd fallen in love with a Canadian emigre and poet, Eric Trethewey, while at college in Kentucky. Tretheway's parents had to cross into Ohio to get married in 1965. In her poem "Miscegenation...." Natasha Trethewey @ The Poetry Foundation

Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 13, 2014 9:18 PM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

The graphic picture says it all.
Literary criticism or discernment seems dead

I am always struck how often Amazon reviewers say " book could use a good editor".

Posted by: grace at January 13, 2014 10:13 PM

In her poem "Miscegenation...."

Well done, editor! No reason to read one more word in that article.


Posted by: jwm at January 13, 2014 11:21 PM

As I always say, when I'm elected President, Gerard will be the Poet Laureate.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at January 14, 2014 3:54 AM

Poet Laureate? Really? That notion went out with codpieces and fortnights.

Limericks, now that's the ticket:

Hickory is the hardest wood,
Fucking does a woman good;
It opens her eyes, makes her wise,
and gives her ass exercise.

Either that or Haiku ... lemme see now ...

Posted by: chasmatic at January 14, 2014 6:43 AM

Just whynell does the United States have a "poet laureate" to begin with? That's the kind of crap monarchies do.

Oh, wait . . .

Posted by: Donald Sensing at January 14, 2014 7:09 AM

Hey! I work in that building! I'm assigned to "Monument to the Forgotten Sonnet."

Youze guys pay my salary. Thank you very much! I owe all of you at least a tall one and a shot of Jack.

Or . . . I could get a job doing something useful . . . . NAH!

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at January 14, 2014 8:03 AM

Chasmatic, you expressed my sentiments and you didn't even realize you were doing it! I love limericks but don't care much for haikus….just to japanese for my tastes. But I do eat at Japanese steak houses occasionally.

Posted by: Jack at January 14, 2014 9:12 AM

2014 Youth Poet Laureate of New York City Ramya Ramana, at the inauguration of new Mayor of NYC Bill De Blasio:

“This is the moment when you make of your fist the same clench in your teeth, make of your tongue all the textbooks your school was not funded enough to provide you with, make of your fingerprints the first draft of a revolt, when the follicles of capitalism’s hips falls on your school like angel dust, an army of unbranded jungle mouths will shout and yell and the trinity will linger there too like an arena of thunderclaps, and I will be there too and I will wonder how a genocide of shredded trees somehow makes some people think they can somehow play god, and then I will further wonder what made white people so insecure that they will do everything to put us in the lion’s den, and call us everything opposite of Daniel, which is to say the real reason for underfunded city schools is because deep down those in power know of the prophet that hugs our skeleton, know of the Solomon in our gene pools, know of the burning bush our spirit is, and if that takes flight…”

"The follicles of capitalism's hips..." Just sings, don't it?

Posted by: Rob De Witt at January 14, 2014 3:06 PM

Rob De Witt

Did he (or she)actually recite that at a public event? You're 'shittin me! That even tops Obama's bogus interpreter for the deaf in South Africa recently, if it's true. Well ... perhaps, not; it was a New York mayoral inauguration, after all ...and look who won that election. Even so ... tell me it's not true.

Posted by: Frank P at January 15, 2014 5:28 AM

Frank P, ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EOQzwuk4wY

Posted by: BillH at January 15, 2014 8:08 AM