Frank Avon


For The Poet August Kleinzahler - Poem by Frank Avon

Poetry as an art is...
'complexity
and formal achievement';

otherwise, it's no different than
'rubbing pig feces
or listening to Fox talk radio
or taking serotonin reuptake inhibitors —

if that makes someone
less suicidal or homicidal
or miserable,
great....
But it has nothing to do with art
per se.”

.....

Ah, yes,
Brooks and Warren 101:
what makes an urn well-wrought
is complexity
and formal achievement,
subtlety
and obliqueness,
paradox
and ambiguity,
understatement
and irony.
Got it.

Nothing to do with the reader, of course,
That would be a terminal cancer
called 'the affective fallacy.'
Put in a call to the Mayo Clinic.

Simplicity and accessibility,
and - god forbid! -
what's informal:
the work of witch doctors!
Cast them into the outer darkness.
Put in a call to Salem.

Take you choice:
pig feces
or rigor mortis.

Topic(s) of this poem: criticism, poet


Comments about For The Poet August Kleinzahler by Frank Avon

  • (11/19/2015 3:00:00 AM)


    The quoted material has been attributed to Kleinzahler, in an article, Mary Oliver Saved My Life, online. The context was a telephone conversation in which he was dismissing, or patronizing, poetry therapy - the reading and writing of poetry to address or perhaps relieve suffering. I grew up with Brooks & Warren and the old New Critics. Regrettably their characterization of poetry as art, and their tendency to dismiss what is simple and informal, has relegated Establishment Poetry to Academia. There are hundreds - thousands - of contemporary poets who write complex, oblique, inaccessible poetry for the hundreds and thousands of their peer poets - and no one else. Whether they actually read each other's work, I have no way of knowing. Ironically, Kleinzahler is not one of those. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, November 19, 2015



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