Many thanks to Scene4 for bringing us the eminently sensible, wise and salutary poetry columns of David Alpaugh. I find myself in almost total agreement with everything he says about poetry and the current poetry scene. Above all I agree with what he says in his current column: that poetry is an art, not identical but closely allied to song, that is meant to enchant and enlighten us. It is not supposed to be a credit on a resume, or a sacred mystery to be guarded zealously by the few hundred keepers of the flame.
Alpaugh's latest column reminded me of an argument I had a few years ago with two poet friends. I argued that a poem should reveal something of itself, but not all, on first reading; they insisted that a poem must be absolutely opaque the first five or six times you read it, and that anything less was a sacrilege.
Needless to say, these same friends regard the name "Billy Collins" as being in the same class as "Paris Hilton." The real tragedy is that my friends--whatever our differences in esthetics--are no more of the academy than I am. How deeply the poets have drunk of the Kool-Aid!
Miles David Moore
read David Alpaugh's column