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  #21  
Unread 01-11-2020, 12:15 PM
R. S. Gwynn's Avatar
R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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In Dickey's correspondence with Sexton, and hers with him, there is an attempt to make their schedules mesh so that they'd be in the same place at the same time. Luckily, this never came off.

I still challenge the assertion that Plath is underappreciated or whatever. Two generations of poets are now under her influence. To claim otherwise is to ignore a lot of literary history. In many ways, I would consider her the most influential poet of the last 50 years.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 01-14-2020 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Misspelled Sexton
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  #22  
Unread 01-11-2020, 02:22 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Plath has certainly been famous but Iím not sure she has been evaluated beyond the proto-feminist confessional label which I donít think do her justice.
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  #23  
Unread 01-13-2020, 06:53 AM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
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I don't know Sam, a meeting of Sexton and Dickey might have been interesting – even fruitful. Think of Ben Johnson and Shakespeare under the hedge, or Dylan Thomas and Elizabeth Bishop on the tiles after the Library of Congress reading. Poets and poets, always better than poets and painters, or poets and house painters, come to that. I see it as a missed opportunity.
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  #24  
Unread 01-17-2020, 04:32 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Never mind. I'll try to come back and post something worthwhile, ha.

Last edited by James Brancheau; 01-17-2020 at 09:53 PM.
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  #25  
Unread 01-20-2020, 12:19 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Ok, yeah, what John said. And I doubt she's been the primary influence for two generations of poets. Must have hurt you somewhat to say though. So that's good. Plath is liked or disliked based on fairly superficial grounds. Which is the very problem of being judged based on gender, race, or whatever. Plath wasn't looking to appeal to a particular demographic, I'm pretty sure. She was writing, at times, about her experience.
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  #26  
Unread 01-21-2020, 10:49 AM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
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Of course in arguing for the technical skill of Plath or Sexton is to ignore the fact that their appeal, for the vast majority of their readers, has nothing to do with skills. That's not to say that they lack them entirely, or that they don't add to the enjoyment of their readers of their poems – whether they are aware of these skills or not. We are not speaking here of John Hollander or Ellen Voigt. Plath's (and Sexton's) appeal, like it or not, is in daring to speak of what was unspoken. And that brings up a point: can the same can be said of Snodgrass or even Lowell? It is not only Sexton and Plath spoke of what cold not be spoken, but that they did it as women. And clearly there was some need for their words. Whether that is still true I cannot say. But I know that I, who have wrestled with my own angels – their treatment of fractured families and mental illness does speak to me strongly. I recently read Sexton's first two books with interest and – yes – with pleasure. That she has "fallen off recently" does not mean a fig to me.
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  #27  
Unread 01-24-2020, 02:06 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Last edited by James Brancheau; 01-24-2020 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Didn't want to go too far off-topic, again.
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  #28  
Unread 01-28-2020, 03:04 PM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is offline
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Back in the late '60s/early '70s, I was in the audience at two James Dickey readings. He did "Cherrylog Road" both times, and after the line "In the parking lot of the dead", he looked up at us both times and drawled happily, "Isn't that gooood!"

Everything people love about Dickey, and everything other people hate about him, might be summed up in that bit of performance.
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  #29  
Unread 01-28-2020, 03:22 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Chris, I think he does have a habit of repeating himself.

At the only reading of his that I attended, he was late in arriving. A poet named Jame Reiss nonethless proceeded with the introduction, and in the course of his introduction he mentioned that he had introduced Dickey before in such flattering terms that Dickey said, "That sounded more like a eulogy than an introduction." At that point, Dickey arrived and went up to the podium. He hadn't heard the introduction, but he pretended that he had been there all along. Going up to the podium, he said "That sounded more like a eulogy than an introduction."

He then proceeded to act like a complete jerk throughout the reading. His novel "Air" had come out, and he spent a long time telling us that it did for the sky what Melville had done for the sea, but the comparison wasn't fair because his book was far better than Moby Dick.

This was my first date with the woman who became and remains my wife, and we bonded over thinking Dickey was a pig and an asshole.
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  #30  
Unread 01-28-2020, 03:37 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I heard Dickey read only once, rather late in his career. He read "Encounter in the Cage Country" and all of "Bronwen, The Traw, and the Shape-Shifter: A Poem in Four Parts," many copies of which were for sale and were quickly snapped up. There were lots of middle-aged women, mostly on the front rows. It was pretty clear whom he was pitching his wares to. My friend (another writer) and I were so disgusted by the shameless show that we skipped the party afterwards.

I do know that there was a lot more to Dickey than his public pose, and I do admire much of the early work. Still, I've never regretted passing up the chance to meet him.
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