Skunk Hour? WTF?

Today there was a lunchtime presentation at Pratt on the topic of close reading. It was a mostly interesting discussion, except that one of the presenters mentioned she had students reading sonnets by John Berryman (OK, whatever) and… er…Kim Addonizio… and that she also gives students several poets’ close readings of Lowell’s “Skunk Hour,” as well as the poem itself. Why is this *crap* still being used as models of poetry for impressionable young minds? She also brought in a handout of poems she uses for close readings including some Russel Edson, some Plath, “Red Wheelbarrow” and “In a Station of the Metro”. Has no one yet figured out that these are both execrable poems, whose inflated historical importance may be their only virtue? oh GAWD. I want to SMASH THE BORING FUCKING CANON ALREADY. I can almost see myself in Doc Martens kicking everything and slamming at POETRY with a baseball bat. If you can’t teach people to read everything poetically, which would, I feel, be an exhilarating goal, at least give them some poetry to read that won’t make them think poetry is this awful monotonous whiny self-important thing. “Skunk Hour” — aaaaagh! SAVE ME!!!!!

4 thoughts on “Skunk Hour? WTF?

  1. just to say, and certes not disagreeing with your point, I was in a class taught by Robert Grenier, who had us give a close reading of Skunk Island, by way of Zufofsky, syllable by syllable. in my teenage wisdom I knew that that wasn’t at all Lowell’s game, yet it was a hell of a lot more interesting than the pile of meaningfulness one was expected to find. I still scratch my head that Grenier studied under Lowell, even in a mentor sort of way.

  2. Hunk Scournaughtiness is life’s hermithairless, still love’s thorough winner in her Spartan cottagea slap, steel graze above the seamthis one’s a big slap hit firmeris first secretion in our villagewe’re in the dot.age thirsting forthe higher arching potencyof Queen Victoria’s centuryshe bungs up allhe (ai! SORE!), facing her shore,and lets him fallsee, son, stillwe’ve lost our some our milk young airyou seemed to leap from anal beanhiss nine not yellwas auctioned off to lobstermena red fox stain covers Blue Hilland now our fairy orator brightens hiss hop or fallhis fishnet’s filled with orange corkorange, his cobless breath and allthere is no money in his workhed rather marryone dark knightmight to afford climb his skull,i watched for love-scars lights turned down they lay together hull to hullwhere the gave yank selves on the townmy minds not rightack a ratio bleats,love o carefree love i heremy in spit in each blood selfas if mind hand were at its throati my smell am hellnobody see heroily skins that searchhim to move light bite teatfey marks on their soles up may straightwhite sticks my stuck i said fireundo the chap fly and spar sirehave to train irritate the chub aye stand on topof our backs tip sand breach there itch hairanother spunk wither call um off tick swells the garb is paleshe jabs her wedge-head in a cupall sew her cream drops her oil-rich tailand will not stare

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