David Biespiel’s Poetry Wire: News of the Weird in Poetryland


New book reports postmodernists forced to write in rhyme and meter

Exposing widespread abuses faced by beginning poets writing in postmodern verses, a new book titled “Between the Lines,” revealed that poets who write post-experimental poetry are forced by their betters to write, sometimes as often as fifteen times a day, completely in rhyme and meter. “These soon-to-be ground-breaking poets are required to practice the art of poetry, perform iambs and dactylic hexameter, and then destroy their traditional poems repeatedly by burning them in hand-held Grecian urns,” several postmodernist activists from a splinter group told reporters in an outrage at a recent press conference, adding that even when the poets are not writing metrically they aren’t permitted even to listen to non-grammatical, non-lineated poems but instead must listen to this line, “This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlock,” repeatedly. “What’s most humiliating,” activists contend, “is how, during the writing of their new poems, the postmodernist newcomers are hazed with catcalls such as ‘you fat Wordsworth, you!’ and ‘go home, you James Merrill metrical wus, and worst of all, ‘want me to turn off your google flarf search, do you, do you, punk!?!” When reached for a comment, Tucker Blacksmith, a spokesman representing classical postmodern poetics, says the book is so totally readable and accessible that it is therefore not to be taken seriously. “It completely misrepresents the postmodern training regimen,” he said, due to the fact that the postmodernist masters work constantly to create fractured and faulty images for all readers to watch sift through their fingers.

Shameless poet exposes his flabby metaphor

Poets at a local writing workshop in Teaneck, New Jersey, expressed shock and embarrassment last week upon noticing that one of their fellow poets had turned in a poem for workshop with a visibly flaccid metaphor underneath the third stanza and was making no effort to conceal it from his readers. “It was like, dude, we can totally see your limp metaphor,” one participant told Poetry Wire. Adding: “It’s right there! Have you no decency. Cover that quaggy thing up!” Forced to look away from her copy of the poem out of sense of politeness, the participant, who was granted permission to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal when his/her poem came up for review next, was still unable to get the unconcealed metaphor out of his/her mind. “The drooping metaphor was just staring at us. He should have done something to block it.” As Poetry Wire goes to press, numerous poets were gearing up for a full scale protest against irresilient metaphors.

W. S. Merwin admits to still searching for the one true, career-defining poem

Former U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize, Rockefeller Fellowship, National Institute of Arts and Letters Grant, Bess Hokin Prize, Ford Prize, Harriet Monroe Prize, PEN Translation Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Academy of American Poets Fellowship, Shelley Memorial Award, Bollingen Prize, Hawaii Governor’s Award, Maurice English Prize, Tanning Prize, Lenore Marshall Prize, Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Award, Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, Golden Wreath Award, and the Herbert International Literary Award, told sources in an exclusive interview this week that he’s “still searching” for the one true, career-defining poem. “I’m proud of my writing, but despite receiving some of the world’s most prestigious variety of awards in arts and literature, I’ve yet to find that one good poem that everyone can identify with, you know, like Billy Collins does,” said Merwin who received his first major award in 1952. “When people hear the name W.S. Merwin, there isn’t a single poem that comes to mind but rather a crush of 3,000 poems across sixty years. Hopefully, the right poem will come along soon enough.”

David Biespiel is a poet, literary critic, memoirist, and contributing writer at American Poetry Review, New Republic, New York Times, Poetry, Politico, The Rumpus, and Slate, among other publications. He is the author of numerous books, most recently The Education of a Young Poet, which was selected a Best Books for Writers by Poets & Writers, A Long High Whistle, which received the 2016 Oregon Book Award for General Nonfiction, and The Book of Men and Women, which was chosen for Best Books of the Year by the Poetry Foundation and received the 2011 Oregon Book Award for Poetry. More from this author →