Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Kevin Simmonds
Dear Editor,

Dan Chiasson didn't review Derek Walcott's The Prodigal ("Eight Takes," April 2005). Chiasson's diatribe seems nothing more than an opportunity to finally let Walcott—and all those who can't see beyond "the ravishing catalogues, the twilit epiphanies, the bold strokes of rhetoric"—have it hard and where it hurts most: in the review section, the space where the white light of criticism—a trusted space—is supposed to illuminate the work at hand and make way for astute comments about that work as connected to the author's oeuvre. Here, there's no movement forward, no change in direction, just a lot of renouncing (all source word/phrases from Chiasson). I'll stop here because I feel myself wanting to rant, to rail against Chiasson for misusing these pages, for underwhelming us and trying to pollute this rigorous space with a review that actually reads: "You see I haven't said much specifically about this book."

Columbia, South Carolina

Originally Published: October 30, 2005

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Kevin Simmonds is a writer and musician originally from New Orleans. His books of poetry include Bend to it (2014) and Mad for Meat (2011). His writing appears in the anthologies War Diaries, To Be Left with the Body, The Ringing Ear, and Gathering Ground. A frequent collaborator with Kwame Dawes, he has set several of his poems to music, including the children’s book I Saw Your Face and Hope, a meditation on HIV and AIDS in . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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