Writing as not only an avowed fan of Morri Creech's Field Knowledge, but also as a graduate student of comparative literature frightened to death by the paths that criticism and poetry have taken over the last few decades, I cannot help but respond to Ange Mlinko's discussion of Creech's new book ["Exchange: Pure Products," May 2007]. Mlinko is not only a voice from the stands speaking in unison with all that is current and clichéd in the realm of both poetry and criticism, but her response is an absolutely shocking display of what she herself is criticizing. She has responded to an "old-fashioned" text by citing the most old-fashioned of artists. Ashbery is her paradigm of contemporary poetry? Who else could be more canonical?
It also seems strange to me that, according to Mlinko, "[Creech's] engagement with ‘the past' is specifically ... mid-century, Anglo-American formalism," given that Traherne, Marvell, Keats, Arnold, Wordsworth, and Milton are not quite "mid-century." Or does Creech not "engage" them?
Originally Published: October 27, 2008