Belated buzz on a slow Sunday


Helen Pinkerton on left, Turner Cassity on right

It is always fun to introduce two friends who haven’t met each other yet.  Helen, meet Patrick.  He loves your poems.  Patrick, meet Helen.  He’s a Civil War buff.

The poet Helen Pinkerton has been given some belated and much deserved buzz  — Patrick Kurp has blogged about her at Anecdotal Evidence twice: here on Saturday and a week ago here.  In yesterday’s post, he discusses Helen’s poem “Degrees of Shade”:

Pinkerton’s poems often dramatize our divided natures. Our selves, “ever desiring to be right,” sabotage goodness freely given. We choose darkness over “the brightness that my will obscures,” and some, non-being over being. Those who “hating love’s compulsions love their hate” have been making a lot of noise lately and receiving a lot of attention.

Patrick Kurp and Helen share more than a love of poetry and a bent for Aquinas.  Helen is a Melville scholar and writes about the Civil War era as well — today’s post shows that it’s an era that also intrigues Patrick.  Somehow, I introduced them via the internet, and I can’t remember quite how.

“What a great poet. I only wish I had known of her a long time ago,” he wrote to me. “I knew the essay she had written for Barth’s edition of Winters’ poems but never pursued the matter. I share all of her interests I mentioned in the post – Melville, Civil War, etc. – which I suppose is part of the attraction, but I like her style – like Cunningham’s but with more meat on the bone. She’s closest, I think, to Bowers.”

The plot thickened when Frank Wilson at Books, Inq. posted Patrick’s link at Anecdotal Evidence, bumped it up and linked it also to my own interview with Helen  (to my knowledge, I am the only person to interview her), which is here.

I am always grateful for Frank’s links though, in truth, a link from Books, Inq. is often a cause for chagrin:  his headlines shame mine.  He explains: “My only journalism prize — on a plaque behind where I write — is a first prize for a feature headline from the Society of Professional Journalists no less. For an article about the follow-up to The Silence of the Lambs. What was the headline: Second helping!”

Blogs linking to blogs, who in turn link to other blogs.  The blogosphere is endlessly self-reflexive — like the Land O’ Lakes Butter box.

And speaking of belated praise:  The Washington Post Book World reviews Jack Rakove‘s Revolutionaries today here (“Rakove’s [book] offers a consolation to modern liberals: that no matter how serious the crises, we will somehow find what we need to make it through. His is a bedtime story for grown-ups”)…. say, didn’t that book come out some time ago?

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