Sunday, June 15, 2008

A row has broken out in Portugal's literary world over plans by heirs of the nation's most famous modern poet, Fernando Pessoa, to auction his unpublished manuscripts and letters. Thanks to Jilly for the link.

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Just when I thought that Kooser didn’t have a brain in his head, however, he surprised me. The last poem in the book, written for his wife, has all the fierce, stubborn Frost-like humor the rest of the volume lacks.


The hog-nosed snake, when playing dead,
Lets its tongue loll out of its ugly head.

It lies on its back as stiff as a stick;
If you flip it over it’ll flip back quick.


If I seem dead when you awake,
Just flip me once, like the hog-nosed snake.

There might be life in the old snake yet.


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Howe is better than most poets in this vein—it’s unfair to call them Confessional Poets, because they have so little to confess. They might better be christened the Memoir School, poets so wrapped up in the truth of their lives (though truth is the first victim of memoir), the poems seem claustrophobic. The trouble with such poets is that their lives become an end in themselves, rather than a needle’s eye used to interpret the world. William Logan Reviews, from The New Criterion, thanks to C Dale for the link.

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2 comments:

Collin said...

I'm sorry. I just can't believe a word Logan writes. It's all bitter rhetoric and poorly written cheap shots at this point.

Brian Campbell said...

Just when I thought Logan didn't have a brain in his head, he proved it. (Actually, I had no opinion of Logan up to this point. I was just trying my hand at bitter rhetoric and poorly written cheap shots. I prefer scotch and water, actually.)