Karen Kipp fans erupt as her upset of Robert Lowell becomes official.

Karen Kipp joined Lisa Lewis in making upset history as she brought down the illustrious Robert Lowell in the first round of the 2011 Scarriet March Madness Tournament, 67-66, in overtime.

Kipp and Lewis still have a long way to go, but all agree they have struck a blow for women—and underdogs—by beating the best, Robert Lowell and John Ashbery.

These poems, “Responsibility” by Lewis and “The Rat” by Kipp, can go all the way: they are both wonderful poems, 16th seed, or no.

“Responsibility” and “The Rat” are both ‘APR poems,’ the kind of poem which favors the paragraph, the striking image, the social vision, a certain unity of narrative and atmospheric effect, over effete formalism and self-conscious experimentation.  In other words, the ‘APR Poem’ represents the common-sense revolution in poetry: poems accessible and expressive in a prose medium, and the best of these poems are like good cinema, an added expressiveness growing around the dead Romantic poem sunk in the ground.

An APR poem, or a ‘paragraph poem,’ succeeds most often when a singular vision is at work, when the poet is imaginatively sincere, and rather than indulging in the freedom of the form, makes it work by fusing various aspects together and acheiving harmony, not chaos.

In this case, the two women showed the men how it’s done: Ashbery and Lowell, though strong in individual parts, could not withstand the women’s grounded harmony.

One Scarriet March Madness official confided, “The guys were great, but they were show-offs.  The women were real.”

Congratulations, Lisa Lewis and Karen Kipp!

Oh, look, Marla Muse is getting all choked up!



  1. Noochinator said,

    March 3, 2011 at 12:35 am

    The old boy network’s
    Being disbanded—
    The message is clear:
    The egos have landed.

  2. Chado said,

    May 18, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    That dull milquetoast Bostonian deserves to be beaten by ANYONE.
    I fail to see how R. Lowell can be so adulated…

  3. May 19, 2020 at 1:45 am

    Lowell is an amazing poet. This website never ceases to piss me off. I have no idea why I continue to come here.

    Maybe Chado can post some of his poetry so we can see what sort of expert he is. I’ll bet his poetry sucks.

    Who the fuck is Karen Kipp? The name is somewhat intriguing.

  4. thomasbrady said,

    May 19, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Robert Lowell is OK. Not a great poet, by any means. In fact, I consider him an anti-poet, because he always drags in a subject: A series of things, I, Robert Lowel, in the middle of my life, observe. And he always sticks to this subject, because after all, we’re naturally impressed, not only because he’s a LOWELL, but because he convinces some of us that this colossul, surface-y, boredom of his is an admirable, disciplined practice, that this is what good poetry is: no surprises, no insights, no imagination, no playfulness. Just Lowell being Lowell. Yuck.

  5. Chado said,

    May 21, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    I’m sorry but I have tried repeatedly to learn to appreciate postwar modernist American confessional poetry. I can’t. Maybe someone like Sexton was vaguely interesting, when she had that psychedelic rock band backing her up, OK . . . (Noochinator has the video at his channel). but ALL of them, from Bishop to Lowell to Plath to Ginsburg are so self-referential. They ramble on, semi-incoherently, about their mental instabilities, their dysfunctional upbringings, their deathwish fantasies, drugs, alcohol, trivial observations of their milquetoast academic lives; etc. Why celebrate neurosis and doubt in this way? It’s just a lot of godless existential slop. Seriously. I don’t get it. Lowell is constantly dropping references to his Mayflower New England pedigree but this stuff is F—ing BORING. Someone has to say it. I would love to know what Mary Angela D. thinks about this. I detest this type of poetry. It will be mocked and forgotten in 15 years if we make it that far.

    OK you MFA blockheads… react.

    • noochinator said,

      May 22, 2020 at 6:21 pm

      They’re a product of the post-WWII age,
      When the lower classes were released from the cage—
      In a brave new world of free time and leisure—
      Previously only the rich had that pleasure—
      Plenty of time in which to self-obsess and think,
      And discover why the upper classes so often turn to drink!

      • Chado said,

        May 22, 2020 at 7:47 pm

        Well the plebes drink too, I’ve got to say;
        that great Democratizer makes us ALL feel o.k…
        But their poems smell less like neurotic milquetoast,
        and remind us there’s life beyond the East Coast.

        • noochinator said,

          May 23, 2020 at 4:58 am

          Abundance of leisure
          Doesn’t always bring pleasure,
          And tends one toward inclining
          To poetical* whining.

          *and political

  6. thomasbrady said,

    May 23, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    What they mean when they say “confessional”
    Is that in fact they do not write very well.
    But since poetry is really rather boring
    Why not get in a poem a personal angle on whoring?

  7. thomasbrady said,

    May 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Plath: Ted Hughes hurt you into poetry. Daddy
    Rhymed, it wasn’t just catty.
    Sexton: Drank, slept with lots of men.
    And psychiatrists were really trending then.
    Bishop: found love with a lady in Brazil.
    Writing to Lowell gave her a thrill.
    And Elizabeth knew Aldous Huxley—
    You’ve never read their letters—aren’t you lucky?

    • Chado said,

      May 23, 2020 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you, Scarriet.

      Maybe I am not insane after all.

    • noochinator said,

      May 24, 2020 at 8:55 am

      Then the Vietnam war
      Tore the U.S. apart,
      And the confessional poets
      Were thought the apogee of art—

      Revolutions happen,
      Though it’s fitting to mourn
      The good things that got lost
      When the bad things did burn.

  8. thomasbrady said,

    May 24, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    I was speaking to a poet from India on Face Book who announced she had fallen in love with “long poems,” and of course I had to quip, “a long poem doesn’t exist,” but since she had mentioned The Waste Land, I said that was OK—Poe had specifically stated “half an hour” was the duration at which a poem stopped being a poem. One can easily peruse the whole of Eliot’s famous poem in under half an hour. She went so far as to then mention Pound’s Cantos, which drew this response from one of your favorite Scarriet editors:

    I rarely give more than half an hour to Pound, in any case. I can’t enjoy Pound. He passes off translations as his own, and it must have been a strategy he learned: if you tell him you don’t like his poem, he says, with a smirk, “It’s Homer,” making you feel stupid. If you admire “his” poem, then Pound smiles, and of course is silent about the source. Robert Lowell saw the win-win in this, too, but he did it more politely, affixing “after Sextus Propertius” or “after Werfel” to “his” poems. Among the fabulously wealthy, where people collect, rather than make, this passes and does the trick. Polite gentlemen of a fine cast are never boorish; they never inquire, “Which of it is Sextus, and which of it is yours?” To even ask, shows you have no scholarship, and therefore couldn’t even begin to judge the poem, anyway. Therefore you don’t ask, and in your silence it is understood, by everyone present, that you, and everyone politely staring, deeply reveres the poet, Robert Lowell.

    —Thomas Graves

  9. noochinator said,

    May 24, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    But what about Milton, ‘Paradise Regained’,
    And what genre should Spenser’s ‘The Faerie Queene’ be named?

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