Sunday, July 4, 2010

Poetry and Death go Together like Peanut Butter and Jelly

The Poetry Foundation has this great article up on their website called "Ghost Hunting with the Dead Poets Society of America" by Kathleen Rooney.  Midway through the article, she mentions that all poets, whether living or not, are already dead, since their art is a dead one.  It's true, but I had never thought of it that way.  She goes on to say that "Poetry and death go together like peanut butter and jelly," which has got to be one of the funniest and bizarre lines about poetry I've ever heard.  (But in a good way.)  
I get the feeling that Ms. Rooney has had a hard time with live poets, because when she says "Dead poets typically won’t humiliate you for liking them, won’t betray your affection by overproducing second-rate work, or espousing unsavory political beliefs, or publishing something cheap and clever in the New Yorker" there's a tone there that sounds a little too much like someone trying to not talk about a breakup with the love of their life.  Though, to be fair, I'm the same way.  This past fall, The Red Cedar Review got the lovely Steve Healey as our faculty adviser.  As he is a poet and I was the Poetry Editor, he went to be to see if he could get someone to write us a poem.  (Someone famous, hopefully.)  He asked me who I liked.  I told him truthfully that a lot of the poets I liked best were dead.  Healey, I suspect, appreciated the honesty.  

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