Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why I Like Poets...

...even though I often don't know what they're talking about.

National Book Critics Circle Award winning poet Sharon Olds doesn’t care to read from her works for a Laura Bush pro-war event:
Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House…

…I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration…

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.



You go, poem girl! I couldn't stomach it either.


  1. Like any good poet, she nails every word.

    Her reference to the white tablecloth and shining silverware reminded me of Conrad's phrase for London (in Heart of Darkness): the whited sepulchre. Not a bad image for the White House, IMO>

  2. No, not bad at all.

  3. She's special. As a parent (though not the parent of a child old enough to be going off to college) I find her poem "High School Senior" sad and touching. Now, though, I read it again and imagine that, rather than being about a child going off to college, it's about someone sending a child to Bush's pointless war.

    Here's the end of the poem:

    There are creatures whose children float away
    at birth, and those who throat-feed their young
    for weeks and never see them again. My daughter
    is free and she is in me--no, my love
    of her is in me, moving in my heart,
    changing chambers, like something poured
    from hand to hand, to be weighed and then reweighed.

    That sounds about right and explains how she couldn't possibly sit down at that table.

  4. Barndog6:02 AM

    I must say, that lady has some integrity, along with serious cajones.

    As a Marine, I'd like to do shots with her.

  5. I would hope i would have the balls to do the same if i were in a similar position.

  6. I rather think you would, Kristie.

  7. Anonymous1:57 PM

    The poet refusing bread
    And dashing the hyperbole
    And hypocrisy over the dead
    Helps a blind world to see
    The slow death of Democracy.


  8. Maybe Lurch. Maybe it's the slow death of oligarchy.

    Guess we'll see next fall.