Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reading Around

Richard Wilbur has three poems in the August 31, 2009, New Yorker. The first one, "The House" (p.35) is an okay poem. The third poem, "Flying" (p. 55) is a poem that, were it not attached to the name "Richard Wilbur," would never be published in the New Yorker. The second poem, "A Reckoning," (p. 40) is my nominee for worst poem of 2009 published East of the Hudson River.

Read it, if you dare, here.


Blogger Andrew Shields said...

I won't defend the two in rhymed quatrains by saying that they are great, but they have that Wilbur swing to them, and are funny, so I'll at least say that they do deserve to have the name Wilbur attached to them, as examples of a mode that has long existed in his work (especially in the poems for children).

Still, I agree that "The House" is easily the best of the three.

5:34 AM  
Blogger marcia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I used to love Wilbur. I re-read him this past winter and found him wanting in almost every way. I still love a couple of poems though.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Joseph Hutchison said...

The blame, I think, lies not with the poet for writing badly but with the editor for succumbing to the name. I always liked William Stafford's attitude: poets write, publishers publish; he didn't consider it his job to be overly censorious of his own writing. Hence the steadily rising incidence of weak poems with each succeeding book. But I would rather read a weak Stafford poem than the best poems of many another poet, and I feel somewhat the same about Wilbur. Maybe it's just nostalgia for those early reading experiences!

2:08 PM  
Blogger Artful Lawyer said...

I had hoped that they were past this after all of those unfortunate Updike poems... Is Paul Muldoon still poetry editor? I've LOVED some of his work. Not all, but some, but really hoped for more from him at TNY.

9:45 AM  

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