Brian Phillips responds:

Well, I don't know. R.S. Gwynn sounds very outraged, but I'm not sure he's really accusing me of much. Using brief, representative quotations? Portraying a book as part of a general trend? If Gwynn truly objects to these standard reviewing practices, he's going to have a lot of letters to write. But I'm afraid he simply misreads my review of Ted Kooser, which argues nearly the opposite of what he says; and when he insinuates that I pose some sort of threat to Richard Wilbur, he does so purely for effect. (Wilbur's work, which I deeply admire, was mentioned nowhere in my piece.) Gwynn's charge seems to come down to the fact that I disagreed with his published reviews of these poets. But why write a letter about that? Gwynn's reviews are readily available elsewhere, as are mine in this magazine. I would simply encourage interested readers to look at both, and judge for themselves.

Originally Published: October 30th, 2005

Brian Phillips is a regular reviewer for Poetry.

Appeared in Poetry Magazine This Appears In