Waugh! Waugh! Waugh!
Hear that? No, that's not someone from "Peanuts," it's the Z.Sh.B. Patented Bad Poetry Foghorn. It's been sounding for the past several days on account of Henri Cole's "To The Forty-Third President," which takes up precious bandwidth in the new issue of The New Yorker. (Not available on-line. And a good thing, too.) Its faults include, but are not limited to, the Sin of Thematicity. (Don't write about "paper clips," "dogs," "my mother's perfume," "Why Bush is Bad," or anything else that can be summed up in a sentence. If it can be summed up in a sentence, do so, and skip the poem.) We also get Cole's favorite closure, a strange animal excreting something off in the forest. It's a poem not to be missed, if only to remind oneself that Homer (and Gluck, and Cole) do sometime slumber.
Meanwhile, here's a cracking good poem from the same pen. (Taken from Slate.)
Crows in Evening Glow
The terrible glorious crows are convening again,
swooping into the area with triumphant caws,
plunging with demon black wings from utility poles,
kicking and pecking a neighbor's kittens.
Wearing the plaid shirt that was my father's plaid shirt,
I throw a tarp over a pile of clear pink
hemorrhaging garbage bags. See a crow,
take three steps back. Three crows cried,
someone has died. Go home, Crows! I holler,
My black-lipped daddy is gone. Poor crows,
perplexing as men, nobody is listening
to their tired signals, not even the mother,
with blue drooping breast, nursing a newborn
under a red maple with a nest.
Henri Cole's new collection, Middle Earth, appeared last year. He is poet-in-residence at Smith College.
And on another topic . . .
I am, in dilatory fashion, putting together a response to R' Anonymous Friend's comments on R' Simcha Roth's homosexuality teshuvah. Suffice it to say, in the meantime, that I disagree with RAF. But stay tuned! I'll have them up soon.