Another reason why poetry today has a bad name


Lawrence Ferlinghetti‘s latest is for the birds. It’s in the San Francisco Chronicle here.

On the printed page, the lines are indented inward, on each successive line, for no apparent reason except to give the visual appearance of poetic form. (The Chronicle routinely screws up online lineation.)

It opens:  A cock cried out in my sleep

Even forgiving the double entendre, which I will mercifully assume is unintentional, I wonder when is the last time Ferlinghetti saw an actual, non-figurative cock in downtown San Francisco.  (Example for city-dwellers, see right.)

Basically, this United Colors of Benetton poem is in support of smiling niceness.  The politics are safe and clichéd, the term “Third World” in itself has become something of a cliché. It’s hard to believe we’ve come so far from Allen Ginsberg and “Howl.”

Where are the editors?  This is an appalling lapse of judgment.

Ferlinghetti, San Francisco’s first poet laureate, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

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One Response to “Another reason why poetry today has a bad name”

  1. Bad Poetry | James Russell Ament Says:

    […] Haven offers another reason why poetry today has a bad name—she says Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s latest is for the birds. (Goodness, I’ve written far […]