Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The poem on Verse Daily today is by Alan Michael Parker, an old (well, he's pretty young, actually, but it has been a while) creative writing professor of mine. Great teacher, and great reader, if you ever get the chance to hear him I suggest you do so. Mindful guy.

Regarding the New Yorker poems, I'm not going to be religious about them, but last week's by Mark Strand I both enjoyed and found easy to forget. What I came away with from it was the feeling that he is steady, as always, amidst a confusion not only large but unsettled. Confusion? It just pours through him, like gatorade through a marathoner. Steadying and comforting. I used to feel (strongly, and don't get me wrong, I still value his poetry) that there was something important in that tone of his. So why does he feel lesser in "these" times? His taste is the quaff of a personal, not widespread, confusion, which resolutions are in their own way more necessary and frightening than personal ones: are certainly more immediate. Illusions of safety is I'd argue more important (psychologically speaking) when threatened by civil disorder than when threatened by personal disorder.

So he feels slighter, in his clarity of confusion, though even more reasonable than ever for tending to what he does. It's just that the sense that what he is writing about was shared and immediate is less so, for it is obscured by something else shared and immediate I really don't have a way to describe yet.

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