Thursday, May 12, 2005

New York Times Hit Piece on Jorie Graham = Lame Snark

Perhaps the most widely agreed upon sentiment among the M.F.A. grunts of today's poetry world is that Jorie Graham sucks. Indeed, saying snarky things about Jorie Graham has become a kind of cottage industry in today's poetry world. We here at Poetry Snark have no desire to defend Ms. Graham (we don't do that sort of thing), but we do have a desire to promote the standards of quality snark, and the endlessly repetitive, humorless grousing about Graham and her obscure poems and contest cronyism strikes us as the lamest, safest, most boring and conformist snark around. I mean, you know an opinion about poetry has reached a new height in unthinking dogma when the opinion itself becomes a news item in the New York Times. The New York Times, which recently stopped reviewing poetry altogether, apparently only finds poetry valuable enough to comment upon when it realizes there's a market for its story among disgruntled M.F.A. students and losers of first book contests. So David Orr took it upon himself to summarize the findings of the M.F.A. echo chamber in a story that comes to the shocking conclusion that Jorie Graham's poems are "poetic," "thinky," and "fuzzy." Holy shit, now I get it David! What insight you have! But Orr is too much of a coward to even really lay into Graham--instead he hedges, informing us also that "the point isn't that Graham's a bad poet--she's not…" This isn't snark; it's pandering to the masses of unpublished first book poets who have become convinced that the reason they lost the Podunk Review Poetry Prize has nothing to do with the quality of their work. No, it's Jorie Graham's fault … that's why. Somewhere in the dark, inner sanctum of the Iowa or Harvard poetry death-star war room--where the secret cabal of Jorie Graham's storm troopers plot their evil machinations--a deal is being cut to personally cheat you out of that $20 submission fee.


Blogger Adam Hardin said...

Diagruntled MFA students?

Some yes. But I was smart enough not to attend a MFA program which is for people who ca not read taught by people who can not write.

We need snark frankly. American Literature is dead, and the Literati don't even know it.

Wake up.

6:26 PM, May 12, 2005  
Blogger Snark said...


You wrote "We need snark frankly ... Wake up."

Uh, did you happen to see the name of this site? Or read anything here? Why are you telling a site called Poetry Snark that we need snark?

9:46 PM, May 12, 2005  
Anonymous Fabian Trunkhatch said...

Maybe people who have so wisely chosen the non-academic path should reconsider who can & "ca not read." Just a thought.

6:49 AM, May 13, 2005  
Blogger R.C. Bald said...

I say, dear chap, I have made use of that trapdoor of ubiquity, the google search engine, indeed, & in doing so discovered your membership in the Underground Literary Alliance, which, so far as my eye can discern, seems to base its cosmologies on the Truman Show & its poetics on the work of Charles Bukowski. Certainly, friends, the fodder for proclamation of the death of literature as we know it! I for one am a staunch disciple of such fervent leanings, & yes, yes, friends, I garner en masse my worldview from the great & insightful works of Jim Carrey (I think namely of the startling glimpses into the soul of man provided in "Ace Ventura" & "Dumb & Dumber") & base all of my literary inclinations on the life work of a frighteningly hirsute wart of a man whose words spilled out of him like so many drops of Milwaukee's Best Light (such lyric passages as "I'm drunk & I farted/ Pass me a whiskey"). No wonder, I should say, this chap feels only lifelessness when his fingers are on the pulse of such literature. How could anyone hope to surpass such brilliance?

7:04 AM, May 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam you are a broken fucking record. You're breakdancing in the dark. You are a top just spinning in the alley. American Lit is dead is dead is dead! Just running around waving your hands. Then go away. Go bury American Lit in the backyard. or better, go write the revival. You foetry creeps just sing the same tune over and over again. You scenesters you.


9:01 AM, May 13, 2005  
Blogger Adam Hardin said...

Bukowski is a better poet than anyone at Verse or Fence. You could never accept that Bukowski did not need the teet of Academia.

Ten years after his death his reputation continues to grow, while the reputation of the recently departed Robert Creeley continues to fade.

And Frank Conroy? What in the hell did he ever write? That memoir right. What was the name of it?

11:16 AM, May 14, 2005  
Blogger Agent Trochee said...

For someone who claims to above & past the MFA world, you, Adam, seem to know alot about it. My work in the field has not shown any lowering of Creeley's reputation but I am also not a reputation barometer. As for Frank Conroy, he is not a poet and he knew it. So, we don't care about him either.

Bukowski's reputation does not really grow so much as his book sales rise and the bar gets lower (soon, all the kids'll be drinking!). I am a fan of boozehounds and champion that aspect of Bukowski but let us face the truth of his stinking corpulent verse: it is the broken skipping record of vicarious & lived white trash bathos. His hippie-inflected Californian breath, pocked face, greasy hair and post-office-back make him the Jerry Springer guest in the annals of literature, notable only for his disgusting yet magical ordinariness. In a culture that continues to revel in the cesspool of low & common denominators, Bukowski is a saint.

4:22 PM, May 14, 2005  
Blogger steve barron said...

We'll see if the Snark's story makes it to the Times.

5:37 AM, May 15, 2005  

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