19 mar. 2004

Mike Snider waffles and says that "excellent" does not mean "great." (My dictionary defines excellent as "Of the highest or finest quality; exceptionally good of its kind.")
I don't know how to read contemporary metrical verse? I think I do! I'm not "fair" to it because I expect it to rise to the level of Roethke, Stevens, Thomas, or Frost, when what these neoformalists are really attempting is a kind of contemporary "light verse." In essence, I'm making a category mistake, reading this poetry as though it were in the same genre as excellent poetry of the past, and being continually disappointed. There's an audible difference between "I know a woman, lovely in her bones" or "She is as in a field a silken tent" and any line from Rhina's poem. It's the difference between musicality in verse and "painting by the numbers" versifying. I'm not offended that someone would write a sonnet, I'm offended that someone wouldn't know the difference between good metrical verse and crapola.

If you want good story-telling, try Fanny Howe's short-story "Radical Love," from Economics. No story is completely original, but Espaillet's nachos and beers are not well-chosen details.

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