I was pleased to read that Kay Ryan was Thursday appointed Poet Laureate, whose poetry–to me–sometimes gnaws (in that too-sweet way) and, well, sometimes doesn’t. But I’m not the unbiased judge; – I do no justice to poets who probably deserve it, only because I cringe when someone says to me “I am a poet.” Agh.
In our home, something like being a poet would be thought of as putting on airs. It would be embarrassingly pretentious, and educated, and snobbish. And so that, as a writer, I’ve always been very sensitive to not being pretentious and to being sure that I didn’t put on airs. I mean, it’s all right to be intelligent and to use every possible aspect of language, but never to be pompous.
— and honestly that’s my first impression these-a-days. I spent enough time in my University’s creative writing program to gag a rat. It makes my tears water-up like onions diced. But, just sometimes, I’m really very much taken aback, and I end up liking a [contemporarily written] poem. However, I am diverted by Ms Ryan’s “I Demand to Speak with God,” her review of Mr Frost’s Notebooks recently published. She writes
I have said that the notebooks don’t generally trade in darkness, but very occasionally there is a big, igneous rip: “I am not sorry but rather enlarged that through me life must stab someone,” he says, a propos of nothing. And peppering the notebooks is the phrase “Dark Darker Darkest” standing alone, as though it were a code for something he kept working at in his mind.
and it is illuminating Frostically and Ryanally; I kind of dig these little ganders.