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December 03, 2004


Laura Carter

Thanks for bringing this up. We've been studying Anne Sexton in my 20th-century class, and I'm really having a tough time reading her for similar reasons (despite the fact that her life is all over her poetry---not always the case). It is hard to draw the line, and one reason I'm prone to call myself an essentialist, not a bad thing, I think. There's something to the idea that the life-art line is permeable.

Kent Johnson

(comment deleted, at author's request)


I know very few poets personally, which is an advantage in some cases. When I meet someone I don't like, my opinion of the person's poetry doesn't change all that much. There might be a brief "re-adjustment period." On the other hand if I do end up liking the person I will like the poetry more, if I already liked it. If I dislike the person's poetry already, and the person ends up being a jerk, then the two sets of "dislike" begin to feed into each other. If I have generally friendly relations with someone I am reluctant to criticize their poetry. Why bother?

Their are aspects of poets' personality, dead and alive, that are attractive -- or not. I feel I know Frank O'Hara personally quite well. If I met him nothing really *should* surprise me.

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