Bad Poetry Makes Good Copy

The New Yorker‘s recent decision to print the lyrics to an upcoming Joni Mitchell song (“Bad Dreams Are Good”) and bill it as “poetry” inspires some lively skewering online…

  • In Oy Canada Rickey Wright notes: “If this all weren’t so carefully, if not well, wrought, it could serve as a parody of any number of folkie platitudes. (Ask me about my all-time favorite, ‘Virginia Woolf’ by Indigo Girls, which assures its heroine that ‘you weathered the storm of cruel mortality.’ No she didn’t. She died.) As it is, Mitchell is working a whole other plane of awfulness…”
  • Meanwhile, the Slog (in-house blog for Seattle’s The Stranger) points the finger back at the New Yorker‘s new poetry editor: “Yeah, but Paul Muldoon RULES. He’s like some kind of freaky scientist. The only way something like the Joni Mitchell, uh, ‘poem’, would be published under him is as some kind of performance art gesture. Which maybe it was anyway. Hmm. Nah…”
  • A chat board in metafilter entitled, “What is Poetry, and Does it Pay?” inspires a lively back and forth: “[Joni]’s curmudgeonly, she’s self-important, she’s not released a good album in close to 30 years, and I’d love to know what William Shawn would have thought of the New Yorker publishing free verse from the Proud Poetess of Fort Macleod… But I’d still take bad poetry from Joni Mitchell over most of the other content of the New Yorker.”

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