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SANTA WEARS EYEWEAR...


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Sean Bonney has Died

It is always sad news when a fiercely experimental, committed, and talented poet dies, and so it is that I was sad to learn that Sean Bonney has died, aged 50, in Berlin. Bonney and I often crossed pens online, in the past, and he was no friend to my ideas on poetics. But, he was a poet with conviction and brilliance, and every death is the death of a world. I wish sincere condolences to all who knew him, and loved him, and hope that his poems live on, in memory and print, discussion and study, for years ahead.

IQ AND THE POETS - ARE YOU SMART?

When you open your mouth to speak, are you smart?  A funny question from a great song, but also, a good one, when it comes to poets, and poetry. We tend to have a very ambiguous view of intelligence in poetry, one that I'd say is dysfunctional.  Basically, it goes like this: once you are safely dead, it no longer matters how smart you were.  For instance, Auden was smarter than Yeats , but most would still say Yeats is the finer poet; Eliot is clearly highly intelligent, but how much of Larkin 's work required a high IQ?  Meanwhile, poets while alive tend to be celebrated if they are deemed intelligent: Anne Carson, Geoffrey Hill , and Jorie Graham , are all, clearly, very intelligent people, aside from their work as poets.  But who reads Marianne Moore now, or Robert Lowell , smart poets? Or, Pound ?  How smart could Pound be with his madcap views? Less intelligent poets are often more popular.  John Betjeman was not a very smart poet, per se.  What do I mean by smart?