25 mar. 2008

I went to see a reading by John Balaban yesterday, attended by about 12 WashU students plus myself. Some of his observations about translation from the Vietnamese were interesting. Of his own poetry, not much stuck with me. I haven't been feeeling too well--the inevitable let down after turning in the Lorca book to the publisher, so I dozed a little. What I did hear was basically prose poetry of an undistinguished variety, the kind where the story told in the poem might as well have been told using a set of different words. I didn't see what it looked like on the page. It could have been lineated, but what difference would that make? He seemed a sincere, genial guy.

If you invite a poet to the English department to read and not a single faculty member shows up, what does that mean? You should either show up or invite a better class of poets to come. An academic poetry of no interest to academics.