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  #1  
Old 10-11-2002, 09:38 AM
Len Krisak Len Krisak is offline
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At considerable risk to my personal safety
(that's a joke!--or maybe not, considering
some of what's been going on here recently),
"The Weekly Standard" will have my review of
Levin's "Penguin Book of the Sonnet" out next
week. Somehow, I feel I'll just plain
continue to pile up friends and influence people.
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2002, 10:09 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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This is going to be rich!
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2002, 01:25 PM
Paul Lake Paul Lake is offline
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Welcome to the pages of The Weekly Standard. Talk about nearly getting killed, you should have seen the reaction of some of my fellow Arkansans to my article about Bill Clinton in that esteemed journal a week before his appearance before Ken Starr.
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:18 PM
Richard Wakefield Richard Wakefield is offline
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Len:
Will it be available on line? If so, post a link for us. I'm guessing that you found the book as willfully perverse as I did, save for the standards that are already available in any good anthology of verse. Oh, there were a few pleasnat surprises, but it seemed as if the editor's goal was to demonstrate what a dismal drop off there has been in sonnet quality over the past half century or so.
If it's any comfort, you'll probably not hear much, if anything. A couple of weeks ago the Seattle Times printed my scathing review of "Best American Poetry 2002," the most negative review I've ever published, and so far there's been nary a ripple of response from those responsible for that travesty.
RPW
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2002, 01:38 PM
Len Krisak Len Krisak is offline
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Thanks to all, guys.
Only 600 words, but I did
my best.

Richard, I don't know for
sure if it will be linked on-line,
but I suspect not.

Now--Bill Coyle and I were toying
with the idea of reviews of
that "Best" anthology--a real
disaster. I would LOVE to see
a copy posted here, or linked,
or something. Can you oblige,
Richard?

Thanks!
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2002, 04:16 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Richard -

To call "Best American Poetry 2002" a travesty is to insult and denigrate travesties everywhere. It is a shrine to empty pretension, a cathedral of silliness. What I'd really be interested in is the story - if there is one - behind the choices. The repeated selections from the same few narrow or obscure (at least to me) journals can't just be coincidence, and it's impossible to believe they're based on quality. I'm a stranger here, totally uninvolved in the politics or passions and fashions of our poetic world - I just sit in the corner and write my stuff and whimper when the big guys talk of "deconstruction" - but I am absolutely unable to fathom why much of that junk was chosen or printed. Are they all nuts? Is there some new drug I don't know about?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Michael
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Old 10-14-2002, 04:34 PM
Richard Wakefield Richard Wakefield is offline
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Len and Michael:
I haven't checked to see if the review is archived at seattletimes.com, but it would be worth a look because I know sometimes they are.
As for the reasons behind the choices, I too pondered. Even a random selection wouldn't have been so resoundingly awful. There are perhaps six pretty good poems, but they're all by big shots, and that leads me to suspect that certain folks just couldn't be left out for political or personal reasons. The rest? It's anyone's guess: former students? potential lovers? students of friends? potential lovers of friends?
It's distressing to speculate because I always try hard to believe that people can disagree with me and yet be neither stupid nor duplicitous. I'd like to learn what principles or tastes were at work to come up with a selection so different from what I'd have offered. But these poems are so awful, so embarrassing, so inept, that it's like entering a parallel universe of poetry where all standards are inverted, as they are for Milton's Satan. And then, supposing the bulk of selections could be explained, how the hell did half a dozen good poems get in there?
As Huck says, it's one too many for me.
Richard
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  #8  
Old 10-15-2002, 08:23 AM
hector hector is offline
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A friend of mine submitted a review of this to Amazon, beginning with Housman's
If boots were bonnets,
These might be sonnets,
But boots are not,
So don't talk rot.
It has the rare distinction of not meeting Amazon's standards, and remaining unpublished.
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2002, 08:15 AM
Len Krisak Len Krisak is offline
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Hector,

Do I seriously understand you
to be saying that that tiny
little squib by Housman was
somehow too negative or something
to meet Amazon's standards????????????

O world ...
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2002, 11:14 AM
hector hector is offline
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So Roger says. I read his review, and it got, so... worse
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