Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Tim McGrath

Dear Editor,

Regarding Michael Robbins’s dismissal of Dylan Thomas [“The Child That Sucketh Long,” January 2013]: Thomas was a very careless poet, except when he was a great one. Careless because he often allowed his own gifts to get the better of  him. Too many of  his poems have a great first line but then falter from there to the finish. He was, however, so talented that he could create the illusion of a sustained performance, even when the rest of the poem was a mess. Crane’s talent was very similar. Both of them were drunk on words, both prolific to their detriment. I am grateful for what they gave us.

Originally Published: April 1, 2013


On April 3, 2013 at 10:44am Michael Robbins wrote:
I wish the editors had offered me the chance to respond to this letter, instead of to the one that had nothing to say about my Swinburne piece, so that I could have pointed out that my squib on Dylan Thomas was not in any sense a "dismissal." A dismissal would not have found so many ways to praise him.

On April 26, 2013 at 1:41pm Sam Cuthbert wrote:
I just brushed across Tim McGrath's letter on a casual visit to this site--but it seems to me that those who dismiss Dylan Thomas and Hart Crane's effusiveness are usually jealous of their verbal facility. The division today is between those poets who have the ability to write classical English and those who are stuck with colloquial, 2013 American patois.


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This prose originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2013

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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