Friday, April 14, 2006

A Tale of Two Poets

I just spoke to Frank Walsh, who was very ebullient. It sounds like he did great. He called it a "fair interview," and was pleased that he was able to get in his points. Among the points he made: said that what the Overdogs are doing with the co-optation of "Howl" is an example of "eminent domain"; spoke of Moloch being stronger than ever today; and mentioned the wall which exists between established lit and the audience. Frank said, "Mr. Moody, tear down that wall!"

Frank was disappointed that he wasn't able to have a conversation with Shinder-- they did not talk together on the phone, as he'd been led to believe. (Frank had been anxious for them to both read their poetry.) Frank was given his say, then taken off when Mr. Shinder was about to speak.

It's fitting that the WNYC discussion came down to two poets who've followed very different career paths: Frank Walsh and Jason Shinder. Frank, in 1982, as you can see from his interview with Ginsberg on our site, was once a very idealistic young man. How has he been hardened, and made wiser, by the setbacks, toil, and grind of life, the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" in the 25 years since then?

Shinder, meanwhile, has made his way through comfortable academe, winning honors and accolades.

There's one way to see which man is the genuine article: Contrast their poetry!

I ask here for the ULA to put examples of both men's work on our site, side by side, for all to see. We'll thereby find the answer we seek. I know this: that Walsh's "Reagan's Brain" IS as great a poem as I've claimed. It does all that a poem can do-- has endless allusions and meaning, yet is greatly humorous at the same time. It's far, far beyond a Jason Shinder's capabilities.

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