I was going to write about how it was Bad Poetry Day, and encourage people to share their favorite bad verse, or perhaps compose some. Then I found out that Richard Poirier died, and my heart’s not in it any more.
Few people read poetry, and fewer still have any interest in reading about poetry, but Poirier was an old school literary guy who really felt that poetry should be accessible and that even writing about poetry should be accessible. That’s why he didn’t just write about poetry, but also wrote about rock and roll and television.
When I was in graduate school, studying literature and wondering if advanced literary studies was any place for someone who still felt that literature could have a powerful and magical effect in people’s lives, Poirier proved that it could be. When I was on the brink of being too cerebral to ever write any thing that would do anyone any good, his meditation on Stevens and Frost brought me back from the brink. But mostly I liked his writing, which is why I went on reading Richard Poirier’s work long after I was finished with graduate school.
It’s not just Bad Poetry Day, it’s a bad day for poetry.