Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I complained, somewhat , of what I took to be Barry Goldensohn's throat-clearing noise in his poems, the sort of things one writes as an extended warm up to the real material of their writing. Fair enough criticism, but then someone holds a mirror to the accuser. Frank Wilson at Books, Inq.--The Epilogue cites a paragraph from the review, prefacing it with "Too much ... of what Kierkegaard call the preliminary expectoration", by which I means I spent too much time, as long as we're using analogies, revving the engine before driving anywhere. The offending paragraph;

Stevens, with compatriots Williams, Eliot, et al, were, in their varied ways, obsessed with making language a hard, malleable material no less than clay or steel, and they wanted to write and elaborate upon images that didn't obscure the fantastic qualities of the world their language was supposed to be writing about. Perception is a dominant concern for this generation of modernist poets, and Stevens, I believe, followed the loose dictates brilliantly and developed a methodology of processing the world that could capture in it many of its amazing juxtapositions. What is amazing about Stevens' work is that he develops a philosophy of perceptual imagination from the world as it already is.

I present it here as evidence of my prolix problem; it's been deleted from the post below to give the worth Goldensohn a less-larded discussion,but I'm sure other examples remain. Need I mention that I'm enamoured of my own writing voice?



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This retired newspaper hack thinks you're too hard on yourself,Ted. And I rather liked that paragraph.

  3. Thank you, Frank, and I have restored the missing words.

    Thank you for the link, by the way.


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