Thursday, March 06, 2003

Gee, I played Dungeons & Dragons in high school, and beyond. Does that make me irredeemable? It makes me a geek, but I'd wager everyone reading this right now, much less anyone with a blog of their own, is on the same geeky plane. Try to deny it and I'll sic my sixth-level elf fighter/magic-user on your ass.

Don't know if it was because I mentioned him, but Joshua Clover has been taking a beating on Andrew Mister's blog (scroll down for the link) and David Hess' too (Heathens in Heat at left). The man stirs up a lot of ire, but then so do most poets who have been anointed by Jorie Graham. She is so consistent in choosing to publish former students that it must be a conscious policy; I even have a hazy memory or delusion that I've read her saying something to that effect, that she even considers it a duty to get her best students published. I also happen to think that a lot of the enmity directed toward Jorie stems from her being a powerful (in po-biz terms) woman. So there's a lot of sour grapes involved, I dare say. At the same time, her hyperbolic blurbs (if you think Clover's is over the top grab a copy of Mark Levine's Debt) are something no first-book poet could possibly live up to if his (it's usually a he) name isn't John Keats. As for Clover specifically, his book was important to me when I came across it, but that was before I understood his roots and influences—I'd never seen an abecedarian poem before, for instance. I think it's high time he came out with another book so we could judge him good and properly.

There's the poetry wars and the real deal. This morning on the radio I heard the announcer say something like, "Because of concerns about Arab allies, military planners are doing everything they can to minimize civilian casualties." Hey now, that's a relief. It's nice to know that our concerns with pacifiying our uppity puppet states are the only reason we can come up with for not slaughtering thousands of innocent people (though it won't stop us from selling out the Kurds, one group of Iraqis who will decidedly NOT be liberated by American action). Shock and awe—terror and death is more like it. It's digusting. I'm disgusted. What else is new? If it weren't for "Old Europe" I'd lose whatever remaining faith in Western civilization that I had.

Worth repeating: Reporter says to Gandhi, "What do you think of Western civilization?" Gandhi: "I think it would be a good idea."

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