It’s difficult to respond to a letter that directly invokes a pointed criticism without exposing the subject of the criticism (in this case, Eleanor Wilner’s book) to yet more criticism. I’m sorry for that; it wasn’t my wish to give Wilner a hard time twice, and I regret not making that clearer in my reply to Andrew David King. As for the rest, I will say only that the context provided in my review was more than adequate, and the commentary on the poem in question was more than fair.

Originally Published: September 1st, 2011

David Orr writes the column “On Poetry” for the New York Times Book Review. He is the author of Beautiful & Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry (HarperCollins, 2011).

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