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Sunday, February 7, 2016


Never much cared for this legendary poet's poet. When I think of his work I think of a cold wind blowing. He's written some incontestably great lines ("Into the valley of death rode the five hundred ... If music be the food of love, play on ... Come to the window, cool is the night air ... I am tired of tears and laughter / And men that laugh and weep ... April is the cruelest month ... etc., etc.) but I can't recall a single occasion when he made me laugh. Now perhaps laughter is not the sort of thing one should ask for from poetry, but there are any number of poets in Exquisite Corpse that have cracked me up over the years, in particular the immortal and late lamented Jim Gustafson, RIP. Even Andrei (who has regrettably lost his taste for my work, sigh) is funny at times. I liked very much Yeats' final poem, in which an aging speaker views a young woman and pines for being young (and presumably potent) again, and I liked Ferlinghetti's take on "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" ("I will arise and go now, / And go where Beer-is-Free ...."), even bought a paperback of his collected (black cover with that photo of his oh-so-serious face), and his command of meter and language is princely, but at the end of the day he's just not my guy, I feel no affection for him, no brotherhood, as one does with Salinger or Proust or Bukowski, despite his legions of worshippers.

Yet the world keeps turning.

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