Friday, 7 November 2008


The New York Times said, some months ago, that August Kleinzahler was pugnacious, had charm, and could write poetry. The LA Times called him the bad boy of American poetry. All of this is true, although the pugnacity is probably more evident to critics, professors of creative writing, and poetasters than it has been to me since I first met him some thirty years when our paths finally crossed (after much build-up by mutual friends) in Montreal.

So imagine my surprise when the NYT invited the pride of San Francisco, via Ft Lee New Jersey, to comment on the election, alongside John Ashberry and three others, and guess what, August's isn't the poem set among rolling wheat fact you can check it out right here.

It sure is an improvement over Tom 'The World Is Fat' Friedman, or Maureen 'Edwards Spends Almost As Much On Haircuts As I Do' Dowd! Check out his poetry, and his essays; in fact the NYT must dig his act, because he's in this weekend's book review with a fine appreciation of James Merrill, find it here (though I might contend Richard Wilbur, among those writing in rhyme and metre, is at least Merrill's elegant equal)

But Augie's the real deal, if not quite as pugnacious as Mike Singletary. But we are talking poets here...

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