Friday, August 31, 2007

More poems, fewer poets

I'm told there is another new Best American Poetry out*. This means another surge in chatter about poets and clique of poets and schools of poets** and departments of poets and incestuous poet-y relations***. And so on. And so on. And scooby dooby dooby. All I have to say is, Ooh sha sha.

I just don't care about these poets and their lives. Not until the booksellers hire Dr Johnson to write brief biographical prefaces to collections of their poems. If you want to get my attention****, tell me, not about the poets, but about the poems. I don't care if there are major defects in these poets' characters. If they wear their knickers on their heads and snort Cheez Whiz, I can live with that. If their poems aren't good, I won't be thinking about them anyway; if their poems are good, I'll forgive them almost anything.***** Point me at the good poems, and tell me anything you think I should know about why you think they're good. Or tell me they're bad poems, and warn me off.

But for God's sake, talk about the poems and leave the poets alone. Or at least move them to the back of the line.

* I don't care all that much, because I know from the start that it's fatally deficient--i.e., none of my poems is in it.

**As though such poets were krill. Could be, I suppose.

***As though they were Lots of poets.

**** And my guess is you don't. Or, to be more precise, you don't give a shit whether you do or not.

*****Time that with this strange excuse/Pardons Kipling and his views, etc., etc.