Letter to the Editor
Brenda Wineapple's review of Dana Gioia's new book ("Can Criticism Matter?" May 2005) raises the issue of Robinson's Curse: anyone who mentions Edwin Arlington Robinson has at least a thirty-percent chance of calling him Edward. It doesn't matter how much one knows about poetry in general, or American poetry, or even Robinson; nor does the eminence of one's editors matter. It happens, that's all. It may be futile or even dangerous to consider doing anything about it.
After winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for his book, The Flying Change: Poems, poet Henry Taylor remarked to Joseph McLellan of the Washington Post: "The Pulitzer has a funny way of changing people's opinions about it. If you haven't won one, you go around saying things like 'Well, it's...