Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Review in Poetry

In the latest issue of Poetry magazine, I value Christina Pugh's notice about Marilyn Hacker's and Heather McHugh's latest books, not merely because we have the art of poetry sagely and sanely considered, and not merely because the reviewer considers the work of two very different poets with equal ease and aplomb -- but because of this paragraph, a withholding of praise in an otherwise laudatory summation :
At times, though, Hacker’s cosmopolitanism has adversely affected her formal choices. Like so many others these days, she has fallen under the spell of the ghazal, and the book contains too many of them. This Persian form has become the multicultural flavor of the month for many poets who are formally-minded, and it’s a very tough nut to crack in English. Hacker is no more immune to this linguistic weakness than anyone else, as shown in lines like the following: “I might wish, like any citizen to celebrate my country/but millions have reason to fear and hate my country.” In short, there are some poems here that read like outtakes from Poets Against the War (“the war goes on and on and on and on”).

30th anniversary

McNamara's Blog reminds us of the anniversary of the death of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen; the occasion falls today.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Eminem faking it

Now, I like the talentless Mr Mathers about as much as I like the bubonic plague. But this is ridiculous. Apparently, gay activists are criticizing the rapper's use of the phrase "fake it" to describe some gay pop stars. You see, "fake it" sounds an awful lot like an anti-gay slur.

Is there any way we can banish both Mathers and these insane activists to Antarctica for the rest of their lives?

Dream of a bibliophile

Dreamt of acquiring books at low or no cost by Adrienne Rich, Charles Baudelaire, and St Bernard of Clairvaux as translated by Thomas Merton. Now that's a motley crew!