Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Kathy Fitzgerald
Dear Editor,

I found the last two letters in the January 2009 issue ironic, delightful, and delightfully ironic. Michael Hudson highlights Clive James’s mention of the eminently forgettable nature of most poetry written since Orpheus despite the posturing of its makers. From reading each issue of Poetry cover to cover for several years now, I’ve found that “ignition point for our attention,” as James puts it, absent almost all the time. A timely reminder, indeed, of “the few poems, or . . . a few moments in a few poems” that, according to Hudson, transcend “the folderol of prizes and reputations.” Then, the coup de grace: Alice Pillsbury’s deliciously plain-worded assertion [“Letters,” January 2009] that Poetry’s emperor is, in fact, not wearing any clothes.

I rather doubt that you are, as you say, “grateful” to Pillsbury and the members of the Treemont Retirement Community’s poetry study group for pointing out the primary weakness of the poetry establishment. But they have struck a blow for the rest of us plebians who read poetry for pleasure. I for one am grateful.

Oak Island, North Carolina

Originally Published: February 27, 2009

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This prose originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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