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View Diary: Has Harvard Professor Helen Vendler Lost Her Damn Mind? (162 comments)

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  •  Every one of those poets' work (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco, Chitown Kev, badger, grrr, mamamedusa

    has been subject to dispute. That's pretty much the point of poetry -- there is no absolute aesthetic yardstick, no matter how much some academic gatekeepers would like to pretend there is.  You left Blake off your list, for goodness sake.  And I'd take Etheridge Knight over Sylvia Plath any time of the day.  Elliot & Pound leave me cold, but cummings (absent from your list) floats my boat.  And Ed Dorn?  Why him and not Frank O'Hara or Mark Strand?  Personal preference, that's why. I'll take Margaret Atwood over Dorn any day of the week. Why? Because she moves me more.  So does May Sarton & Elizabeth Bishop, but they're not on your list. Why do we have to pretend that hardly any poetry is "worthwhile" when there's a wealth of fantastic writing out there.

    The whole "400 years from now" argument is just goofy.  Nobody knows what we'll be reading 400 years from know, and pretending that you do has no purpose other than to place yourself at the top of some imagined hierarchy.  Will people read 400 years from now?  Were there not 175 other great poets in Homer's time?  Have they vanished because they were not "as good"?

    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

    by hepshiba on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 10:18:45 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'll throw in a vote for Ogden Nash (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa

      No, he was not a "great poet" in that he'd ever be nominated for a Nobel Prize, but there are few poets with as deft a touch at comic poetry.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:11:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't forget population growth over time (0+ / 0-)

      The global population grew from 1 billion in 1804 to 7 billion in 2011. Assuming the same distribution of poetic greatness in the population, 175 great poets now would equate to 25 great poets 200 years ago, and following that geometric growth rate, 4 great poets 400 years ago. And 8,575 in 400 years (by which time we'd better be on more planets).

      Math is fun!

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