Thursday, July 12, 2007

Funny Peculiar

Poets often get caricatured as humorless, brooding party-spoilers. So I was happy to see that Poetry magazine used its summer issue to bash away at that image like a dark piñata and scoop up all the hard candy hidden inside. Ah, piñatas. Blind rage and destruction rewarded with sugar -- what's not to like?

In addition to some vivacious poems, the July/August issue features several very funny essays by writers like Nareem Murr, on living with a poet ("The secret to a poet's soul lies somewhere in the little cells of that dungeonish dictionary, in the slow languishing of those old, mad, forgotten words. It's also in the very particular kind of art she -- and every poet -- seems to love. Joseph Cornell. I guarantee you will not find a single poet who doesn't start rubbing herself against the furniture the minute you mention Cornell and his little boxes full of human residue, the pleasures of the miniature."); and Michael Lewis, who imagines poetry infecting the New York Giants ("11/13... Apparently Eli [Manning] told Coach that he no longer trusts our offensive coordinator, John Hufnagel. He claims that he wrote his first villanelle, but Hufnagel just sneered and called it 'an inferior form, for poets who've run out of things to say.' Eli said that if the Giants couldn't create 'a safe space,' he wanted to be traded to a team that could.").

Funny ha-ha, funny peculiar, a little of both. Pick up a copy before your flight out of town.

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