Moose and Squirrel Blog

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Slate has a set of "non-mushy" Valentine's poems today. It's a good selection, especially Casabianca by Elizabeth Bishop. There are a few really old ones, which is obnoxious. I don't like to read old things. First, they're hard. Second, literature, like science and fashion, has improved over time. We've made a lot of discoveries in the past few hundred years, like how poems can stand up on their own without rhymes stapling up their right-hand side. Anyway, my favorite non-mushy poems:
The problem with most of the love poems I can think of is how narcissistic they are. They barely say anything about the person inciting all the alleged love. I don't believe the writer really loved the person, because they just compliment their eyes and then go back to talking about themselves. By the way, why do eyes get all the attention? They're almost exactly the same on everyone. Poets should talk about noses; noses are funky. Anyway, about the narcissism. Is that an inherent feature of poetry-- it's all about voice, so the speaker overpowers the subject?

An apparent exception: She Walks in Beauty, Like the Night, by Byron.
But think about it. He's obviously projecting all his own issues on this woman, because no adult is actually that "innocent." Or else it's about a kid and he's a pedophile. See? We know so much more about the writer than the beloved.


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