BLAH BLAH BLAH: INTRODUCTIONS, BLURBS

Don’t we hate them?  Those introductions praising a poet before they go on?  Why do they have them?  They are stupid, and they seem more stupid the more clever they are.  They are not necessary.  Shut up.  I don’t care how many prizes this poet has won.  Let the poet get up on the podium and read their goddamn poems. Enough with this tradition already.  The oily professors and graduate students with their prefaced remarks for the visiting poet: look how clever I am!  Bet you didn’t know how many layers of meaning gleam in the title of our poet’s latest book!  Maybe I’ll get laid!  The poet doesn’t need an introduction.  Imagine how annoying it would be if you went to the theater, and before the play: “Before we begin, I’d like to make a few remarks about our playwright tonight.  William Shakespeare, as you all know…”  Save it.

And then blurbs.  Has there ever been a blurb which does not negate everything we mean when we utter the sacred word, poetry?  The blurb is like the Introduction, but a frozen version of it, a cold stain.  Shall we do away with blurbs forever?  Yes.  Just give me a plain book that says “Poems” on it, and, in smaller letters, the author’s name.   The blurb is a sugary humiliation, a confectionery wreck, a cotton candy tomb, a blah blah blah that chokes and humiliates.  Have we no shame?

Therefore, without introduction, we present the 2012 Scarriet March Madness EAST BRACKET!

EAST

1. John Ashbery
2. Seamus Heaney
3. Geoffrey Hill
4. Billy Collins
5. Jorie Graham
6. Robert Pinsky
7. Mary Oliver
8. James Tate
9. Paul Muldoon
10. Charles Simic
11. Charles Bernstein
12. Marie Howe
13. Carol Ann Duffy
14. Franz Wright
15. Carolyn Forche
16. Ben Mazer

Blurbless, sans introduction, these names stand before you.

These poets want to do one thing: Win.

They want to win, because the winner will spend an entire night with Marla Muse.

Marla Muse:  I beg your pardon?

Marla! You’re supposed to say, “And they will never forget it.”

Marla Muse:  I never agreed to do that!  And I don’t think it’s funny!

I was just kidding…in the name of poetry…these poets…don’t you think the winner…?  I wasn’t implying…

Marla Muse:  It’s not funny.

Sorry.  Well, they still want to win…

Marla Muse:  Of course they do.

And soon we’ll announce what poems the poets will be going with in the first round!

Marla Muse:  Stay tuned!

It’s so cute the way you say “Stay tuned…”

Marla Muse:  Thank you.

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4 Comments

  1. Mallie Urn said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Ah, the blurb. One of the only things in poetryland that makes less sense than poetry (and poets).

    Doesn’t Ben Mazer seem a little out-of-league on this list? I know we like him , but still…

    Loving the likeness of Sappho! Poetry is hairy!!

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Mallie,

      Ben Mazer is like Harvard this year…the super-smart underdog…he’ll give Ashbery a run for his money…we love Mazer’s “Divine Rights…”

      Hairy and leafy…!

      Tom

      • Mallie Urn said,

        March 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm

        Hmn, I’ll have to get his book. “Divine Rights” cannot be found online, as far as I can see.

        Searching for it I found these still relevant words of Monday Love:

        “My parenthetical remarks above, as cynical as they are, point to the heart of the matter. Politics and aesthetics in poetry today is ‘who is publishing who.’ This is not to judge those who swim in this reality, but it needs pointing out, and we all need to be more upfront regarding this reality, and not pretend that camps are “aesthetic” or “political,” for actual ‘political concerns’ and actual ‘aesthetic concerns’ do not drive po-biz today, and until we acknowledge what does drive po-biz, nothing will change, since the ‘politics of who publishes who’ will naturally chase all other concerns away. It is difficult to fix, because so many of us are caught in the web.

        The editors finally boast in this essay, as way of closing, “We are not a priori ‘inclusionist'” and “We like extremists and have no trouble with partisan views” but this is an empty boast, since no establishment journal can foster honest debate as long as that ‘debate’ (which “Fulcrum” claims to welcome) exposes cracks and hypocrisy within its own establishment status. This is the dilemma which faces all writers on po-biz today. One is either a trivial, disgruntled carper from outside, or a hypocrite insider. This is not to say that aesthetic considerations will never transcend the foetry problem, but until the foetry problem is confronted honestly by insiders, it will not, because a burdened conscience cannot soar with either beauty or truth.

        Yes, it is hard for poets to keep on speaking terms with each other. Quite true. And the ‘goings-on’ are hard to follow. Quite true, again. And contemporary poetry does not “know itself.” The “Fulcrum” editors make excellent points.

        How would Ionesco have put it? Like this, perhaps:

        In English, “The hardest thing for poets is to keep on speaking terms with each other.”

        In French, “The hardest thing for poets is to keep on speaking terms with each other.”

        In German, “The hardest thing for poets is to keep on speaking terms with each other.”

        In Spanish, “The hardest thing for poets is to keep on speaking terms with each other.”

        In Russian, “The hardest thing for poets is to keep on speaking terms with each other.””

  2. doubleyouaye said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Nice introduction. Oops!


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