Outward Bound Ideas

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Friday, February 24, 2006

45. From Good Poems by Garrison Keillor

A very subjective selection (the putdowns not the putups) from the Introduction to Good Poems by Garrison Keillor

I looked at a truckload of poems to find the few thousand I've read on the radio, and it's an education. First of all, most poems aren't memorable, in fact, they make no impression at all. Sorry, but it's true. There are brave blurbs on the back cover ("writes with a lyrical luminosity that reconceptualizes experience with cognitive beauty") but you open up the goods and they're like condoms on the beach, evidence that somebody was here once and had an experience but not of great interest to the passerby.
I've come to admire.......Bukowski's love poems...... and admire his good humor, e.g., the poem in which he says he's lived with some fine women in his time but he would rather drive in reverse gear from L.A. to N.Y. than live with any of them again........
Reading Allen Ginsbergs collected poems is like hiking across North Dakota. I stopped at Fargo.
Walt Whitman is the Typhoid Mary of American Lit. so much bad poetry can be traced back to him (and not brief bad poems, either), he gave so many dreadful writers permission to lavish themselves upon us. Lord, forgive me.
And there is T. S. Eliot....so smooth he passed for British......
"Women's Lit" strikes me as one of the great dumb ideas to come out of my generation, right up there with multiculturalism.
Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin, two women, who, forgive me, make St. Sylvia look like tuna salad.

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