Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don't bank on this poem

Ed Hirsch is one of those poets who runs hot and cold; when his idea is served by fresh language that eschews  cheap irony, is develop with restraint and is not burden with the crushing , arbitrary banality of social significance,  we get some real lyric verse. This is a set of instincts I wish he would take better care of, because when his bad , the birds fall of the powerlines His poem "Lottery" is a lead weight all around; it is a premise strong enough for a short story or a sequence in a longer novel, perhaps by the likes of Russell Banks, who's books are full of sad men at some post-crisis point in their life, recollecting over drinks, lots of drinks, about the intensity of a youth that is invariably squandered in is depressed tales. The failure of the poet, perhaps, is that Ed Hirsch isn't a good enough writer of fiction to have plots points segue into revelations of character, the revelation of a world view that has the grit of felt experience.

This might as well be a TV Guide synopsis of a movie being broadcast after hours when the house is quiet and each incidental sound due to sagging wood beams or running water are too loud, prohibitive of serenity or self-reflection. Banks, not the perfect narrative artist, was convincing in the worlds he chose to bring to book length;his types of tale, with narrators bordering on suicidal depression, are not the things that make for a lyric poem. This poem is blunted by the fact that Hirsch stops himself from using his prerogative and writing longer; he wants the pathos to be suggested, whispered behind the collective reticence to show emotion. The poem instead just lays there like a dead wife 







This poem is nothing but lead weight all around; it is a premise strong enough for a short story or a sequence in a longer novel, perhaps by the likes of Russell Banks, who's books are full of sad men at some post-crisis point in their life, recollecting over drinks, lots of drinks, about the intensity of a youth that is invariably squandered in is depressed tales. The failure of the poet, perhaps, is that Ed Hirsch isn't a good enough writer of fiction to have plots points segue into revelations of character, the revelation of a world view that has the grit of felt experience. This might as well be a TV Guide synopsis of a movie being broadcast after hours when the house is quiet and each incidental sound due to sagging wood beams or running water are too loud, prohibitive of serenity or self-reflection. Banks, not the perfect narrative artist, was convincing in the worlds he chose to bring to book length;his types of tale, with narrators bordering on suicidal depression, are not the things that make for a lyric poem. This poem is blunted by the fact that Hirsch stops himself from using his perogrative and writing longer; he wants the pathos to be suggested, whispered behind the collective reticence to show emotion. The poem instead just lays there like a dead wife .

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