As one who believes that Madison Avenue may be the source of some of the most successful modern poetry (“Plop plop, fizz fizz/O what a relief it is!”: is a more brilliant combination of sound, rhythm, and meaning to be discovered?), I very much enjoyed Clive James’s “Product Placement in Modern Poetry” [May 2011]. I realize that consideration of music and lyrics opens entirely new cans of worms, yet as James discussed L.E. Sissman I couldn’t help but think that Cole Porter offers a perfect counter-example. Not only does “You’re the Top” (for example) reflect a love of words and products, but it achieves a perfect blend of word, phrase, and rhythm—at least to my ear. Porter, too, is interested in “social notation through the listing of products” and, regarding James’s point about limits, I don’t think anyone can successfully parody Porter.
My thanks to Clive James for the most fun I have had with Poetry for some time.