2/18/2008

Newlove review

My review of the new John Newlove selected poems that I've been nattering on about is now online, and can be read here.

Thanks, Peak. Your website may look just like every other newspaper's now - but they don't have your mildly terrifying green backdrop!

7 comments:

Zachariah Wells said...

Very nice. Just got my review copy yesterday. Looking forward to diving in. Sounds like _Apology for Absence_, which was 37 poems shorter, might be more _the_ Newlove selected. I'd wonder why the publisher chose Derksen to do the afterword, but that would be a rhetorical question...

Zachariah Wells said...

Ooh, and there's the half-paragraph in which Derksen uses "reification" six times!

rob taylor said...

yeah...there were so many words i could have counted..."agency" was always one of my favourites in under-grad discussion groups - sometimes all someone would have to say was "Agency!" and everyone would nod knowingly...

Zachariah Wells said...

This pearl came across my desk tonight; thought it applied nicely to the Derksen afterword:


"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln

rob taylor said...

oh...i wish i could have used it...

hope you do... ;)

Anonymous said...

I believe the custom when criticizing someone's work is to summarize it generously first - to demonstrate that you understand it - and THEN to criticize it.

If you don't understand it b/c of it's style or language, etc., that's fine...but if you don't like it because you don't understand it, then you should think about what it means to not like things you don't understand.

I believe that's called "narrow-minded."

Rob Taylor said...

Anonymous,

"Summariz[ing] generously" isn't something that happens in newspapers terribly often - I think it would be great (sometimes) if it did, but it usually doesn't, and certainly not with the kind of word limits that I was working with.

And to be clear, I wasn't criticizing what Derksen said (which I did understand [and agree with at times] though parts of it took a few readings!), but how he said it - I was contrasting his writing style with Newlove's own desire to "make it as plain as I can".

My focus was on Newlove, whose work I was trying to show the strength of through a contrast with Derksen's. My assignment was not to offer a detailed review of an afterword.

Still, thanks for your comments (though I believe the custom when criticizing someone's work is to have a name!).