Thursday, October 09, 2003

Slate is getting into the bad-poetry game, on the occasion of a reprint of a nasty Modernist collection of bad 19th-century formalist poetry called the Stuffed Owl. I am so deficient a student of verse, so inept at autodidactic poetic instruction, that I honestly don't recognize half the names thrown about in this review. I mean, I've heard of Lowell and Pound and Elliot and such, but who the hell is Marianne Moore, or Elizabeth Bishop, or John Ashbery, or John Merrill? What titan of Modernist verse could "Stevens" be, that he, god-like, stands first-nameless with Frost or Crane? Crane? Stephen Crane? Red-Badge-of-Courage and ripe, wacky gothic verse Crane? I always thought of him as more of an Edwardian poet than "Modernist". Or is there some other Modernist Byron whom I should know by his family name alone?

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