4 oct. 2006

Poetry has zones of (relative) "clarity" and "obscurity." Zones within the work of a single poet and zones in literary history. Clarity is always a relative concept because not all readers are the same, and within the history of taste there have been larger shifts in perception. In the 50s Cummings was still a difficult modern poet. Ashbery was hard to read until about 1982, after which he became (relatively) easy. Poets teach us how to read their work.


Nobel predictions.

1. Clark Coolidge. The Swedish academy will finally come to its senses and award the prize to Coolidge.

The upside: This is a major American poet with a long list of publications. Everyone will be surprised. The New York Review of Books will have to acknowledge that Clark Coolidge exists.

The downside: It won't happen. Coolidge is still not translated into Swedish and is a cult figure within his own nation.

Odds: 5 billion to 1.

2. John Ashbery. Come on, why doesn't Ashbery have the Nobel prize yet?

Upside: A major American poet. Has won all the other prizes.

Downside: Not enough political "leverage." Ashbery skeptics will write another round of stupid articles.

Odds: 500 to 1.

3. Joyce Carol Oates. She's been around forever.

The upside: Everyone knows who she is. She will be easy for journalists to talk about.

The downside: the odor of the middlebrow. No political "leverage."

Odds: 20 to 1.

4. Antonio Gamoneda. The journalists will be calling me this year.

The upside: Gamoneda is the most notable poet of contemporary Spain.

The downside: Antonio who?

Odds: 6,000 to 1.

5. Adonis. This one is actually possible.

The upside: A nice nod to Arabic culture in the current world climate. A wonderful poet.

The downside. People will say stupid things about Arabic culture. The prize will be considered too "political."

Odds: 5 to 1.

6. Coral Bracho. Why not?

The upside: major Mexican poet. A woman.

The downside: Under 60 years old. No political agenda is served for the Swedes.

Odds: 12,000 to 1.

7 comentarios:

C. Dale dijo...

Gamoneda SHOULD win the Nobel, but I suspect you are right.

Ernesto dijo...

There is absolutely no way Coral Bracho could get the Nobel... Atwood or Oates, very possibly.

Jonathan dijo...

I forgot about Atwood: 25 to 1 odds.

The upside: A Canadian and a woman, a feminist. Middle-brow ma non troppo. Plenty of things for journalists and bloggers to say.

Joseph Duemer dijo...

Come on, what about Donald Hall? He's still alive, isn't he?

Jonathan dijo...

Donald Who? Is that someone I should have heard of?

Ernesto dijo...


Jonathan dijo...

It was sarcasm, Ernesto.