Avalanche by Leonard Cohen

 [Gothenburg Scandinavium, Gothenburg, Sweden
Leonard Cohen

Is modern poetry so bad?




Why is modern poetry so bad?

June 20, 2013

Friday morning, America’s great poets will wake up to find that someone has TP-ed their trees and scrawled “COWARD” on the door.

A 6,000-word jeremiad about the pathetic state of contemporary poetry appears in the July issue of Harper’s magazine, which hits bookstores Friday. In “Poetry Slam, or, The Decline of American Verse,” Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia, upbraids our bards for being “oblique, equivocal, painfully self-questioning . . . timid, small, in retreat . . . ever more private, idiosyncratic, and withdrawn.” That’s just for starters.

“Their poetry is not heard but overheard,” he laments, “and sometimes is too hermetic even to overhear with anything like comprehension.”

And he names the names. After studying Paul Muldoon for years, Edmundson complains that he still has “barely a clue as to what Muldoon is going on about.” Jorie Graham is “portentous.” Anne Carson may be Canadian, but that’s no defense; her verse “is so obscure, mannered, and private that one (this one, at least) cannot follow its windings.” John Ashbery “says little” in his “perpetual hedging.”

“One can’t generalize about it all,” Edmundson warns, before generalizing about it all in a nuclear assault that leaves no poet standing.

There is no normal

Two years ago I was recovering from a major operation.I believed that then our life would then  return to “normal.” I can’t believe I have lived through two years and helped someone to leave this world peacefully.
I know now there is not really any normal.I only have to look at the News to see  it

I recall phoning my GP the day after the death and after giving my name was asked:

What do YOU want?

Because they had not believed me when I asked fo a home visit.They thought I was a nuisance.In any case ,it was incredibly rude.I felt so  awful it didn’t hit me.But when I told her the news she gasped for breath.

The logic of deciding what to get rid of: large items go first.



I am thinking mainly of clothes but the same idea can also help with books.And console yourself by imagining some other  poorer person getting a good coat or skirt.

  • Give away the items that take up the most space first
  • In my case that means coats.These are usually the largest items in a wardrobe.Over the years they seem to accumulate.
  • OK they fasten but are they too  tight? That is a bad look.
    I have got tired of red.And my red coat is a  little tight.So out with that.
    I don’t like  very heavy clothes.So out with a  purple maxi-coat fit for  an Empress.
    Out with any more that are  clinging and tight.
  • Second item that has grown in number…my shoes.
    Out with very heavy  shoes/boots
    In theory, I should wear trainers but I shall keep some of the others for now.
  • I suspect that following the ” are they clingy?”  rule will probably eliminate a few winter woollies.But not today.
  • P1000346
  • Big books  like dictionaries  take  a lot of space.Do we need all of them? I had a huge road atlas for lorry drivers which has now gone into recycling.The idea is, starting with the big ones creates space and makes one feel good.Later we can look at the others.Usually we get access online to dictionaries and suchlike.
    I keep good novels but not non-fiction if I don’t  read it in a year.
  • Number-wise look at this picture below.
  •  Mmmmm!My books might not fit into this train
  • 14433196_1794848317395766_5063688982507485266_n


Never get up before you’re awake


Ghostly bikes

Never say more than needs to be said
Coincidentally ,that rhymes with bed.
Never wear underpants over your head.
Never speak boastfully  about what you’ve read.

Never hear gossip and don’t pass it along
We know in our hearts this is usually wrong..
Never say in words what is sung in a song
Never wear underslips frightfully long.

Don’t accept   gifts from men you don’t like
Never ride home on the back of their bike.
Never get up before you’re awake
Never take cats for a ride in a lake.
Never feed cats  on an  old Xmas cake.
They are no judges of how well you bake.
Never let in  anyone who appears to be fake
So many folk are now on the make

They need money , not poetry!


Poetic Justice—writing for Health and Emotional Freedom: Creating a Therapeutic Writing Program for the Chronically Ailing Poor

Can they afford pen and paper? This is a book about poetry therapy.No therapy is proven to work but it seeems more money and better housing would be more likely to help.
But,hey, if you have np money,no clothes and starving kiddies.. write an effing poem about it.That will put flesh on your bones or at least pass the time

Front Cover

We Manage Most When We Manage Small


Linda Gregg, 1942

What things are steadfast? Not the birds.
Not the bride and groom who hurry
in their brevity to reach one another.
The stars do not blow away as we do.
The heavenly things ignite and freeze.
But not as my hair falls before you.
Fragile and momentary, we continue.
Fearing madness in all things huge
and their requiring. Managing as thin light
on water. Managing only greetings
and farewells. We love a little, as the mice
huddle, as the goat leans against my hand.
As the lovers quickening, riding time.
Making safety in the moment. This touching
home goes far. This fishing in the air.
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