What a deep disappointment Michael Robbins’s so-called “review” was. Reading it was like being trapped at a cocktail party after a poetry reading in Chicago by, well, Michael Robbins. Full of the undergraduate spitefulness that we’ve come to expect from young white male poets given a soapbox and a deadline, it gave me the distinct feeling that I was reading a blog. But I wasn’t reading a blog, I was reading Poetry. It is clear that Robbins has not “lived and loved” (as Heaney says) that which he writes about. His snarky, whiny, self-satisfied tone is the Top 40 hit of his generation. I can only hope that Robbins will turn his attention away from criticism and back to his own PhD studies. And I will turn mine to the brilliant Clive James essay in the same issue.
Princeton, New Jersey