New Literary Art Form Discovered!
In praise of the praise of poetry.
Some are witty and contrarian:
"If there is one lesson to be drawn from Shelley's life and work, it is that you can't trust a man who believes he is an angel."—Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker
"If one were forced to select a single word to exemplify Bishop's peculiar charm and power, it might well be 'No.' "—Brad Leithauser, the Wall Street Journal
"To test oneself, Oppen recognized, is to know failure. Oppen's victories are no less great for being small."—James Longenbach, The Nation
Some are casually thought-provoking:
"Hass's latest poems remind us that to be fully human is itself an act of political subversion."—Cynthia Haven, San Francisco magazine
"If we can give up on consolation, there may be room for something more promising."—Adam Phillips on John Burnside (and Henry Reed), the Observer
Some of them helped with capturing why I felt the way I did about Keats' "Autumn":
"In any poem of value there seems to be some poetic element, some inner intensity, which is separable from the language it is embodied in."—Clive Wilmer on Ted Hughes' translations, TLS
And I must admit I admired some of them, however over-the-top, for witnessing how much they cared about contemporary poetry:
"Only rarely do lay readers experience poems as a cross between an orgasm and a heart attack." —David Orr, the New York Times
Since I've gone out on a limb and suggested Keats' "Autumn" is the greatest lyric poem in the language, I invite readers to post their choice—just one!—for this honor in "The Fray." Perhaps along with an approximately two-line description. Let's say, a Twitter-like 140-character limit. After all, almost prophetically, the last line of "To Autumn" somewhat ominously observed:
And gathering swallows twitter in the sky.
Ron Rosenbaum is the author of The Shakespeare Wars and Explaining Hitler. His latest book is How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III.