Friday, August 3, 2007

Jorie Graham's New Yorker Poem

Recently, I had dinner with a BIG NAME POET who said The New Yorker is a place where major poets publish their worst work.

At the time, I didn't think too much about the remark, although I must admit that, overall, the typical New Yorker poem leaves me scratching my head and wondering who selects that obscure and bland stuff. I just chalk it up to my own differing tastes and let bygones be bygones. Besides, the New Yorker cartoons and articles more than make up for any deficiencies in their poetry, so I continue to subscribe.

However, Jorie Graham's poem "Later in Life" (August 6 issue) is astounding in terms of its mediocrity, rambling qualities, wordiness, painful length, and strange structure. I'm much too weary to deconstruct this poem for this small audience; the poem itself makes me tired. I'm sure that if Bugzita or some other unknown poet submitted this poem, it would have been buried in the bottom of the slush pile.

I hadn't read Ms. Graham's poems before and felt somewhat obligated to see what all the buzz has been about, but without having to pay for the privilege. I must admit, I was expecting better.

"Later in Life" simply doesn't pass my BS meter, which I had to use often when I taught creative writing. IMHO, it reads like a bad undergrad poem. The poem spans two pages in the 8/6 issue, much too long for a mediocre poem.

If anyone wishes to defend the poem and/or analyze it, feel free to e-mail me and I'll post it here. Maybe I have missed something.

On a cheerier note, the same issue of The New Yorker published an informative article by Michael Specter titled "Damn Spam," and outed the inventor of this marvelous wonder that clogs our mail boxes daily: Gary Thuerk. In 1978, he figured out a way to send a mass email to members of a network called Arpanet. He was trying to sell a computer system, which he did, to the tune of a cool $20 million. However, most of the members of the group were outraged that the sacred internet would be used for commercial purposes.

What a hoot.

Wouldn't you just love having Gary Thuerk's email address?

Finally, MAJOR and shameless self-promotion: I set up a web page with an open letter to agents and publishers regarding my memoir I, Driven, now finished. I'm also going to try the old fashioned way, but last night, as I was checking out a domaining blog, I got this brainstorm: why not find a generic domain name and put my promotional information on it? Amazingly, some great generics having to do with memoir were available and just ready for the plucking (for cheap), so I grabbed several variations. For now, you can see how I have used one of them (I'm still a bit slow with creating web pages):

This domain name was parked on Sedo for less than 24 hours and received three browser type-in hits, so I decided to pull it and DO something with it--that's my goal for all my parked pages; I just need to find the time without devoting my entire life to creating web pages. But this one felt important (at least personally).

My next goal is getting a synopsis page up, but first I have to write one up--I hate the promoting part of writing a book.

My other memoir domain names are safely parked on Sedo, making next to nothing.

In closing, I, Bugzita, may be slipping slightly over to the dark side in my domaining endeavor.

Best to all, even Jorie, who should be writing better poems.


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