Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Great Regulars: His neighbor is not in the same mind.

Literally and figuratively. He's a lousy audience; he won't play. He doesn't laugh, he doesn't nod. He doesn't honor the joke, which, shouldn't I note?, would not kill him. He does get its intent, however, answering with his father's sober, ambiguous proverb.

(It might mean opposite things, at least: both "good fences ensure neighbors keep apart" and "ensuring good fences gives neighbors something to cooperate on, a task that brings them into neighborliness." And that's only for starters.)

from John Timpane: Jacket 2: The Speaker in "Mending Wall": Exactly How Much Should We Dislike Him?: An amicus curiae brief


But don't the poems know too well where they are going? What of all this self-dramatization? Maybe there's no way around this: Life is a drama, and many women's lives are tragic.

So it gives me joy to say how wonderful [Louise] Glück's two best books--The Wild Iris of 1992 and A Village Life of 2009--really are. They both are and are not "unlike her." Iris is another book of soliloquies.

from John Timpane: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Poet Louise Glück embraces genuinely simple speech


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