Bad Poetry Blurbs

Will it ever end? I scored two books of poems from two beloved poets, only to find their covers/jackets defaced with the usual wonk.

From poetry mentor Daniel Anderson’s Drunk in Sunlight:

“In this doom-haunted book, image and expression come at us with a Keatsian richness, even as they record the bearable sorrows of our lives. Anderson’s fallen word is unique, for the garden remains in lush full bloom and its flawed inhabitants have not been cast out. Sad, beautiful, true and often satirical, these poems make a grandeur of irony.”  – Mark Jarman

(Now I take shit every day for being an inaccessible fount of “too too,” precious prose, but really… Remember the new formalism, Sewanee folks? Despite all of its practitioners sermonizing about formal “accessibility,” they never realized just how remote their forty-something-ish, “notes on a grecian volvo”  sentimentalism might be for the rest of us.  If Danny’s poems were as WASP-y and humorless as Jarman’d have us believe, I’d have a much harder time convincing myself that I like them.)

“In Anderson’s capable hands, form becomes a metaphor for the mind’s rage for holding change at bay, and it always stands in expressive and complicated tension with the evansecent energies of life, energies which require form for their expression, but which at the same time ultimately ironize the forms the both require and elude.” – Alan Shapiro
(Cool… Forget Danny’s awesome poems. Let’s deploy clumsy dialectics to prove that his engagement with form somehow mirror’s the interface of “Man” and nature. Form is necessary because we live formal lives, except for when we don’t live formal lives, in which case form is an ironic, distancing mechanism! ‘Bottom line is, keep those pantoums coming, kids! Anything less would be uncivilized.)

From much-beloved Irish dude from Jersey Paul Muldoon’s Horse Lattitudes:

“Fanciful, brief, strong and full of twinkle-eyed winks at the reader’s intelligence, these poems will certainly stand the test of time, and of many readings.” – John Freeman

(Here we have the opposite problem… read Muldoon so you can feel smart. Contra the new formalists’ prudish “populism,” here we’re led to believe that a priori erudition is the key to (Muldoon’s) poetry.)

” Muldoon’s voice, with its taste for meaty unpronounceables and querolous urgencies, is like no other in contemporary poetry.”

(Speaks for itself, no?)

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2 Responses to “Bad Poetry Blurbs”

  1. coffeeblackandcigarettes Says:

    Prisonship,
    How ’bout a blurb-writing contest?

    “Pat Hayden’s most recent score of poems cleanse the reader’s eyes with perfumed oils and skin the reader’s knees with the pain of loss”

    etc. etc.

  2. wobs Says:

    I second RK. Considering the avuncular crowd you’ve got around here, I’m sure we could stink the joint up with some overly fecund prose!


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