Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Friday, July 10, 2015


Earl the Squirrel's Rule #162
     Because nobody reads poetry it has been forced to rely on private and public funding.  The vast majority of this is concentrated in the hands of The Poetry Foundation, thanks to the Ruth Lilly bequest.  Recently, this largesse has culminated in the publication of this noteworthy effort by Naomi Morris.

     Early returns suggest that we don't have a new Dorothy Parker in our midst.

     A few questions, if I may:

1.  Is this a prudent use of the art form's scant resources?  In what way does this help P/p-oetry?

2.  Is this anyone's best guess as to what Ruth Lilly would have had in mind?

3.  Is this consistent with the original mandate of Poetry Magazine?  Is it "the best English verse which is being written today" and "the highest, most complete expression of truth and beauty"?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #171
4.  Does this show respect for subscribers?

5.  Does this show respect for contributors, including those bumped to make space for it?

6.  Does this show respect for educators endeavoring to teach much better scansion and technique than Ms. Morris exhibits?

7.  If this is an attempt at humor or shock value, does it show respect for those like Allen Ginsberg and Lenny Bruce who faced prosecution to ensure that subsequent generations, including Ms. Morris, wouldn't?  And who did so without compromising humor or art, as Ms. Morris has?

8.  Is this intended to advance the career of its author?  Are today's academic institutions eager to hire instructors who can't even produce passable doggerel?  Is it or is it not a responsibility of editors to prevent young writers from committing professional suicide?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #135
9.  Given the paucity of prepubescent subscribers, what was the targeted demographic?  Are there really people who don't understand the difference between this and poetry?

10. Is there a danger of appearing like creepy, cringeworthy crones trying to appear hip?

11. Do people not understand that the lack of an aesthetic is, itself, an aesthetic?

12. Is it time to consider a change in direction?

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