Tuesday, February 1, 2011

With apologies to the ghost of the great Wallace Stevens -- letters to the NY Times

Stevens (1879 - 1955) was a great American modernist poet, strongly influenced by the French symbolists, but also by Ezra Pound's Imagist preoccupations, and the models of Chinese and Japanese lyric.  An excerpt below, from his "Thirteen Ways of Looking a Blackbird."

        I do not know which to prefer:
       The beauty of inflections,
       Or the beauty of innuendoes:
       The blackbird whistling,
       Or just after.

An awful parody of these beautiful lines suggested itself to me this morning, upon reading some letters in the NY Times, in praise of David Brooks' latest column there.  How is  this goddam rooster taken seriously?  Every time I attempt to read something of his, I throw up my hands in disgust, and wander off muttering to myself, "Who the Hell hired him?"  Thus...

      I know what which more to despise
     The bleating of inanity
     Or its supposed elevation to discourse:
     Brooks' columns in the Times,
     Or the responses.

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