The Blogosphere is, as they say in stand-up comedy, a tough room: so many audience members seem to have shown up just to heckle. It’s strange how people lob remarks from the void—I wonder, often, how those same people might behave at parties.
Of course, a healthy dose of criticism is good and necessary. And it may even be useful to call out the romantic banalities when you see them—though I think anyone who tires of banality should probably avoid the arts altogether.
I am reminded of the old chestnut which I am always unintentionally misquoting: “opinions are like assholes—everybody has at least one.”
I know every Ivy league graduate student has already heard this story (yawn) but I’ll tell it anyway. Once, Frank O’Hara was giving a reading, and a familiar voice shouted from the back of the room, “You’re ruining American poetry, O’Hara.” Not missing a beat, O’Hara replied, “That’s more than you ever did for it, Kerouac.”
Of course, what makes the preceding anecdote noteworthy is the lasting legacy of both participants. Otherwise, it would have just been a silly argument between two people with an exaggerated sense of importance.
Born in Albany, Georgia, D. A. Powell earned an MA at Sonoma State University and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first three collections of poetry, Tea, (1998), Lunch (2000), and Cocktails (2004), are considered by some to be a trilogy on the AIDS epidemic. Lunch was a...