Monday, June 25, 2007

Let's Do It

It’s time for another William Logan quiz, now that his latest review, “Let’s do it, let’s fall in luff,” has been published in New Criterion. The rules are the same as last time. The six poets reviewed are:

1) John Ashbery
2) Henri Cole
3) Cathy Park Hong
4) Frieda Hughes
5) Robert Lowell
6) Frederick Seidel

And here are the six excerpts from the review. Match the poet with the quote that refers to his or her work!

a) “Misery doesn’t love company—misery is company.”

b) “Were _____ unfortunate enough to develop Alzheimer’s, the poems wouldn’t change a bit.”

c) “ … so near to being illiterate, you weep for English syntax.”

d) “_____ sees the advantage … of making things new by making them partly incomprehensible.”

e) “The fretted, distressed lines itch to be something else and end up like nothing but themselves.”

f) “a restless artist who believes that originality requires constant change (unfortunately, as with urban development, if you tear down too much, you have no urbs any more).”

On a more serious note, Logan’s observations on poetry and class are interesting:

The rich are different from you and me. They write better poetry, or did when poetry was an art of leisure. It sometimes seems that, in the centuries after scops stopped singing for gold rings in the meadhall, few men except Sir This or Lord That had the free time to bother with verse—if you weren’t nobility, or landed gentry, or clergy, you were about out of luck. Later, poetry made some great poets rich, like Shakespeare and Pope, and some rich poets great, like Byron and Shelley. Wordsworth and Coleridge were able to scrape by without much by way of day jobs; and neither Tennyson nor Browning ever had to shovel coal. There are exceptions, but many well-known poets never earned a pay check. Only in the twentieth century did poetry become a middle-class art not just read but written by the middle class.


shann said...

I did like the last bit you posted (when I read it by Logan). It's still a class issue, though, but now it's the academic vs the journeyman vs the street- at least in places like Richmond, VA- the three seldom meet except to attend each others readings, and not that often then (but those of us in the middle try, we do try).

(Jouneymen being those of us who study and strive but don't have or aspire to MFA's)

Anonymous said...

William Blake is an exception.