Friday, August 10, 2007

Good news (thanks DBD)

Charles Simic is the new poet laureate. This gives me hope. Simic is one of my favorites. One of the reasons I like him is, as with Albert Goldbarth, I discovered him on my own, read him cold without any idea who he was or how big he was, so he felt like my own secret. I can still remember it too, it was an American Poetry Review at the Miami (Ohio) University library. (Goldbarth was at the ASU library--I can still picture the exact place the book was). This story reveals an insecurity I still feel about poetry, though not nearly as acutely as I used too--that I like a poet only because they're well known. That's not true, but on some level I fear it, and don't trust my own judgement. What John Darnielle (the Mountain Goat) said about Led Zeppelin (something like, how can you really HEAR Led Zeppelin , without all the associations?) applies equally to a Shakespeare poem or a Frost poem. I still get anxious when I don't know who wrote a poem, and if the poet's name is on the second page, I need to flip to see before I can read the poem. Ugh. It's an ugly thing. But now, with Simic--he and I go "way back, man. " Anyway reading him now, as with the first time I read him, I look at the world differently afterwards, there's a lingering change. That's what I want from my art.


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