Thursday, July 2, 2009

Come on Gary

Every writer occasionally publishes work that later embarrasses them, but Gary Snyder recently published work in that esteemed of the esteemed journals "The American Poetry Review" that embarrasses me as a reader, and should have embarrassed him enough to keep it in a notebook. Snyder, riding his cache bareback, is featured on the cover with his de rigeur backdrop of craggy peaks. Just inside we meet his contribution, nine frags, of which I'll reprint three of the worst:

Don't Twist My Hair
"Don't twist my hair
old bear

Three inch teeth
good grief"

Out West
"There's all the time in the universe
and plenty of wide open space"

Country & Western
Loving, hurting

Cheating, flirting

Drinking, lying

Laughing, crying

It's not just that he is still capable of much better work (I hope), but that a journal with the stature and respect of APR would give him the space over other, lesser known but far more worthy writers. And it also attends to the lack of judgment on his part. Has
Gary reached a place where lack of discernment is celebrated as yet another demonstration of his Dharma achievement?

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