Saturday, March 12, 2016

Literary Criticism

I have a book, “The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry,” and I’m just reading through it again. It’s highly entertaining. Many of the usual suspects, but many names that I’d never heard before. I bought it years ago, and I wrote many notes in the margins. Notes like . . .

Being actually crazy may be an advantage.
I’m not sure about this, but she makes it work.
Tell us how you REALLY feel.
I like this guy but he can try too hard.
Wanting to be crazy cannot deliver insanity.
How do you spell poser, poseur? This is all an act, but she sure fooled a lot of people. Or is fooling.
It’s all self-mythologizing and desperate.
What a fucking joke.
As a poet, J.D. was a great actor.
Wow, I abase myself. This shit has melody, rhythm and harmony, brother.
Very self-congratulatory intro, but I like the poetry very much.
Self-conscious and not very good.
Woah, cowboy! Give them doggies a break.
All kind of cloying and precious.
All through this period there was a lot of self-conscious, pseudo-post-traditional piffle . . . D.B. comes to mind.
This has great rhythm; it’s a good read.
Ambitious, and suffers for it.
Oh, yes! On the ragged edge of narrative looking off into dreamland.
Back to earth she loses something and starts to sound like me.
This is great “out loud” poetry.
Not very good.
A little better, but still all a little self-conscious outsider wannabe.
Oh, please. Just be yourself. The Beats are dead.
My first favorite in the book. (Page 219.)
Read and learn, Grasshopper.
Cut-ups, probably.
Conversational and readable . . . is that a good thing?
An evidently famous two-bit St. Augustin, a self-aggrandizing and embarrassingly desperate hipster wannabe.
Way too pleased with himself to be either hip or cool.
Does it matter if any of this actually happened?
I like this guy. This stuff is playful.
Unpretentious and readable.
Flippant and unimportant and not funny.
Not very good.
This reflexive rejection of private property grows tiresome.
Get over yourself.
So what?
Suitably obscure.
I start out not wanting to like some of these poems. One like this, as I read it, it gets better and better.
I like this one very much.
Nice neutral tone. Droll.
This one is great! I think that I always discounted him because of his dull presentation. I should go and READ his songs.
This is terrible.
This worship of the drunken obvious must stop . . . it has never been cool to be a sloppy drunk in a vacuum.
Saved by the story . . . otherwise?
I like this poem very much – you can dance to it.
Very enjoyable, maybe there is hope.
Why do I like this poem? Naturalistic but deep.
Nothing could live up to this intro. The poem sure doesn’t.
It sounds good in the air but I don’t understand how the text dispersal improves the poem. (Except that it’s “modern,” the one thing that it couldn’t avoid if M. wanted it to.)
Silliness mistaken for poetry – infects the world with silly poison.
This is it, isn’t it? This is why we go on.
Do lots of poets do this kind of self-promotion? Or does (the editor) just like this kind of advertisement?
So impressed with himself, he is, at such length . . . the need to self-mythologize.
(Some Prison Poets)
Still living? “You are hereby sentenced to twenty years on death row.”
Thumbs down.
Good poem, but I hope he’s back in the can.
Country Club jail writer. Could be a good career move.
He’s pulling time, but it’s killing me.
Jailbird, I like this one. I have one of these too, “My Father.” Good subject, we all have one.
Jailbird, boring.

W.W. loves me more than most living persons, and has more confidence in me than does anyone else alive or dead. Thanks, Walt. I love you. 

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