Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Jim Carmin
Dear Editor,

I was moved almost to tears by David Biespiel’s infectiously enthusiastic review of  James Laughlin’s The Way It Wasn’t [“Former Dogs,” November 2007]. I would have run out and picked up a copy of the book if I hadn’t had it in hand already. This posthumous “auto-bug-offery,” as Laughlin called it, is an odd book in its choppy but beautifully designed abecedarian layout, in which almost no entry completely satisfies the reader, who now teased wants more. But fortunately there is much more by and on Laughlin out there, including the smartly edited collections of  his letters to and from Williams, Merton, Schwartz, Pound, and Rexroth.

Thank you for allowing Biespiel the space to roam around a bit in his essay, and thank you Ezra Pound for saying to Laughlin: 
“Jas, you’re never going to be any good as a poet....    You’d better 
become a publisher. You’ve got enough brains for that.” Where would poetry be now without Pound’s directness, the publications of New Directions, and the great intelligence of  James Laughlin?

Portland, Oregon

Originally Published: January 28, 2008

Poetry is looking for thought-provoking responses to work published in the magazine, as well as letters that raise new questions about the state of contemporary poetry. To send us your letter, please fill out all the fields below.

If we choose to use your letter, we will notify you by phone. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of sending your letter, you may assume we will not be using it. All letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may appear online, in print, or both.

Please do NOT send poetry submissions to this account. See Submission Guidelines for further information and policies regarding poetry submissions.

   Cancel

* All fields are required

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This prose originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2008

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.