In Scarriet’s latest Hot 100 List (May 28, 2010) we put Merwin at no. 25 and said “the oil spill has moved Merwin way up the list.”

(For some strange reason, Franz Wright found Scarriet’s bit of insight infuriatingComment #13: “The words on Merwin actually take you to the level of obscenity and genuine evil.” –FW)  ???

Today, July 1, the New York Times wrote:

“Some will call his selection now safe, dull, uncontroversial, blah. And they’ll have a point. It is not the kind of choice that makes one leap up and blow hard into a vuvuzela.

But Mr. Merwin’s appointment is potentially inspired. He is an exacting nature poet, a fierce critic of the ecological damage humans have wrought. Helen Vendler, writing last year in The New York Review of Books, called him ‘the prophet of a denuded planet.’ With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico becoming more dread and apocalyptic by the hour, Mr. Merwin may be a poet we’ll need.”

OK, sure, a bit of a no-brainer, but just a little more proof that Scarriet’s got the zeitgeist covered, baby! 


  1. July 2, 2010 at 12:08 am

    “‘With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico becoming more dread and apocalyptic by the hour, Mr. Merwin may be a poet we’ll need.’”

    As opposed, I presume, to all the rest of us who aren’t needed.

  2. thomasbrady said,

    July 2, 2010 at 10:55 am

    First, we must look like the god Pan. Then we must know people like Allen Tate and Robert Graves and Ted Hughes, who tell their friends to give us good write-ups in the press. Then Helen Vendler must call us a “prophet” in the New York Review of Books, which then gets respectfully repeated in the New York Times. Thus, we are “needed.”

  3. The Noochie-Coochie Man said,

    July 2, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I think his first decree
    As Our Poet Larriat,
    Should be that all home
    Pages be set to Scarriet.

  4. The Noochie-Coochie Man said,

    July 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Speaking of Pan, the great Tony Randall played Pan and six other characters in the 1964 film “7 Faces of Dr. Lao”, and one of the other characters he played is Apollonius of Tyana. Apollonius works in Dr. Lao’s circus as a fortune-teller, blind and weary after many years of predicting disappointment for his clients — for he sees the future, but can only speak the exact truth. Below is a transcript of a scene between Apollonius of Tyana (AoT) and a Woman (W).

    AoT: You wish your future told?

    W: You look like Howard, my poor, dear departed husband.

    AoT: You know he did not die. He simply walked out of your life years ago.

    W: Yes…. Well, you know everything, don’t you? If you know my past so well, let’s see if you can really tell my future.

    AoT: Be seated. Five cents please.

    W: Shall I ask questions?

    AoT: If you wish.

    W: Oh, this is so exciting! Let’s see… How soon will I strike oil on that 20 acres of mine?

    AoT: Never.

    W: But I paid a fortune for that land.

    AoT: You wasted your money. Next question.

    W: I can’t hear you.

    AoT: You must listen.

    W: Well, you needn’t be so brusque. It’s just a game, after all…. All right, you naughty man. You see, what I really want to know is, when shall I be married again?

    AoT: Never.

    W: Well, what sort of man will come into my life? Let’s put it that way.

    AoT: There will be no more men in your life.

    W: Well, really, really! What’s the use of my living if I’m not going to be rich, not going to be married again, no more men for heaven’s sake?

    AoT: I only read futures. I don’t evaluate them.

    W: That’s utter nonsense!

    AoT: The future is always nonsense… until it becomes the past.

    W: Go on, do your job, I paid you. Read my future.

    AoT: Tomorrow will be like today, and the day after tomorrow will be like the day before yesterday. I see your remaining days as a tedious collection of hours full of useless vanities. You will think no new thoughts, and you will forget what little you have known. Older you will become, but not wiser. Stiffer, but not more dignified. Childless you are, and childless you will remain. Of that suppleness you once commanded in your youth, of that strange simplicity which once attracted men to you, neither endures, nor shall you recapture them.

    W: You’re a mean, ugly man.

    A: Mirrors are often ugly and mean. When you die, you will be buried and forgotten. And that is all. And for all the good or evil, creation or destruction your living might have accomplished, you might just as well never have lived at all. I’m sorry, but you see, it is my curse to tell the absolute truth.

  5. thomasbrady said,

    July 4, 2010 at 1:18 am

    The Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun (1859-1952) who won the Nobel in 1920 for “Growth of the Soil” and became a Nazi sympathizer, wrote his best work in the 19h century: “Hunger,” “Mysteries,” “Victoria,” and “Pan.” His 19th century work sizzles. “Growth of the Soil” is boring.

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