Thursday, December 29, 2011

Expunging the visible world

From an obit for Helen Frankenthaler in the WSJ:

Frankenthaler belonged to the second generation of the New York School, whose guiding light was the critic Clement Greenberg. Greenberg held that the essence of modern painting was the expunging of all references to the visible world and an emphasis on painting's purely formal elements—the flatness of the canvas support and the colors arrayed across it.

I post this just in case you're lying awake at night, wondering why "modern painting" doesn't interest me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

From the mailbag:

The end of the year does not mean the mailbag is overflowing with copies of Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.

"RHE, have you ever wonder why nobody cares? Maybe because no one can understand ennything you say?"

I have. There was this one guy, once, who understood something I said, but he died.

"Yo, could you write a sestina about Un ballo in maschera ?"

Yo. No.

"Who's better, Auden or Frost?"

Lou Brock. I'd give up Ernie Broglio just to get him on my team.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Year in Review

 I did not win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 I did not get a 10-year extension from the Angels (or, come to think of it, the Devils).

 I am not going to be the Republican nominee. Probably.

 I did not read any of my poems at the Super Bowl halftime show. (N.B. I have written new poems since then.)

 Neither Brad Pitt nor Tilda Swinton is playing me in a new biopic. (On the plus side, neither is Cee Lo Green nor The Swedish Chef.)

 My new budget is deadlocked in committee. If it isn't passed (and funded) soon, I may have to shut down.

 Last time I looked, at least 3 of the authors on the NYT bestseller list were dead. (In several more cases one just couldn't tell.) This offers me promise for the future.