Thursday, October 05, 2017

Gnat meets sledgehammer …

… Jill Bialosky, Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir (Atria Books, 2017) — Tourniquet. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The deeper problem is that Bialosky is uncomfortable with what poems are, if they are anything but simpleminded—she wants poems to console the reader or offer rude guidelines for living. (That’s the point of the title.) Can she really believe that most problems with the young could be solved if “We Real Cool,” a “cautionary tale,” were “taped on the refrigerator of every house with a teenager”? “Poems,” she declares, on her way to a panacea, “are a form of mythmaking, as they seek to create a unified vision of cosmic, social, and primal life order.” Primal life order? I’m not sure what the heck that is, but I very much hope that isn’t the point of poetry.

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