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Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Dorm-room touches

Dear me. A Montreal writer has got his hands on my latest collection, and found a whiff of the undergraduate about it. I'd suggest any critic who uses phrases like "dorm-room touches" has a bit of spring break fever themselves. Anyway, it's an interesting, violently mixed review. As the reviewer writes: "The voice which might have knit these elements together into a powerful whole seems, as yet, to lack confidence in what it is attempting to say." Well, yes, except what the poems are saying is that the idea of one voice, and one powerful whole, remains elusive, for poems, for texts - especially in bleak midwinter. However, the "excess" of reference to other authors in the collection (and other figures, in general, from Hirohito, to Brando) was intentional, and valedictory. I happen to think allusion and homage are viable poetic tropes - and excess is also, at times, a literary option. Many conservative Montreal critics tend to want poetry to be austere, epiphanic, and vocally coherent. You see, folks, North Americans can be stiff and quaint in their poetic needs.
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