Saturday, June 25, 2005

Death of Rhubarb

I'm sad to see that Rhubarb Is Susan is suspending new reviews of poems. This site, where reviewer Simon DeDeo provides close readings of individual poems culled from various journals, helps to fill the void of poetry reviewing in a unique way. By dealing with individual poems, the reviewer explored theory, practice and craft in poetry to a depth seldom found in poetry book reviews. Most book reviews seem little more than blurbs, even in the venerable (and still creakily old-fashioned) Poetry, whose reviews continue to be a backslapping fest with a handful of high profile presses and poets.

Poetry book reviewing is all but nonexistent in most poetry magazines, so Rhubarb filled an important need: to offer the opportunity for thinking about the current practice of poetry and contemporary poets in a broader way than simply presenting poems or hyping books. Not that I'm against hyping books -- I have a book I'd be happy for a reviewer to praise! But it's pretty evident, even without Dana Gioia's book, that there's a dearth of poetry critique. Perhaps because of the dearth of serious poetry readers? (We're all too busy cribbing from one another for our next poem to think and write analytically, except for Helen Vendler, who has no new poems to write.)

So who's going to start the next Rhubarb Is Susan?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ashbery - Oh No, Not Another One!

I wasn't going to take it, I didn't have time, believe in quizzes, couldn't get the link to work, etc. Then someone sent me a link that worked and ... SOB! ...

"You are John Ashbery. People love your work but have no idea why, really. You are respected by all kinds of scholars and poets. Even artists like you."

If you're feeling self-destructive, take the Which Famous Modern Poet Are You quiz at Quizzilla. And weep.

I know it was the Philosophy question that sandbagged me. I should have said No. I should have said, What Is Philosophy? Anything but I Like Philosophy!

If you find yourself seriously addicted to personality tests, you might need this book. Meanwhile, I'm off to find out why I have an obsessive need to keep changing my Windows Appearance and Themes. More signs of Ashbery, I fear.