Alexandra Petri, who puts the “‘pun’ back in ‘punditry,” per her illuminating job description at WaPo, published this “column” on Tuesday, in which she limply questioned if poetry was irrelevant (to quote: “Can a poem still change anything?”; Ms. Petri’s auxiliary position at the Post is putting dithering “rhetoric” back into “rhetorical questions”).
The quick and dirty answer to her headline is: Bullshit. Poetry isn’t dead, and just because a writer who apparently thinks contemporary poetry ends at “Howl” laments its passing shouldn’t mean a damn thing. Of course, John Deming, editor of the wonderful Coldfront Magazine, puts it a bit more eloquently:
We are here, and we plate your dinners. We teach your kids. We slave over works we know will receive no wide audience. We shoe your horses. We work in all kinds of offices. We write about all of this and none of it, and some of us do it really, really well. We find ways to make a living and still practice an art form that yields clarity and meaning. How is that not Blanco’s “American dream” in every sense?
(Oh, and we’re going to assume he means Michael Earl Craig when Deming mentions shoeing horses — Craig is a farrier in Montana).