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July 31, 2018



Holy hell. To quote an old ableist adage that reinforces stigma surrounding mental illness, the lunatics are running the asylum.

I see what you mean about seeing this coming. From your interview:

"I think I would name Auden and Randall Jarrell rather than Frost, there. Frost's politics are authentically terrifying."

... and therefore his poems are no good, presumably.

You know whose politics were "authentically terrifying"? The men whose poems gave us Gilgamesh, Achilles, Beowulf, Krishna, Scheherazade, Lear. Burn their books now, before the Red Guard finds them on your bookshelf.


Several online sources published the poem as printed above and I thought maybe it was an excerpt with some terribly vile lines omitted. Then I learned that this was the entire offensive pain-causing ableist disparaging poem. WTF, I thought. Have we finally reached the bottom of this national wallowing in trigger warnings and self-centered narcissism that claims for itself all categories of speech or suffering with no allowance for empathy or attempts at interpretation? Would the poems of Langston Hughes be misappropriation when he writes in standard white English?

The Nation is, of course, a cowardly one-note magazine, but in this case, it got too many “up-votes” from the public. I, for one, long ago chose not to read anything in The Nation, so I definitely won’t be reading any poetry.


This whole thing seems to me like a plot to publicize poetry. And it worked! I liked this poem very much. Thanks NY Times for your cover story linking me to this poem.

Bob Blank

Holy smokes,
He writes like folks
You see on the streets
of America
Slipping some a dollar or two,
Or burger coupons for another few,
But hold on, sonny!
It's not about the money,
Or how we view 'em,
it's about rhyme and meter
and your lack of them,
for even Ted Joans was not
that far gone, and kept the momentum,
that made his fame,
alas, Mr. Wee, you're not made of the same.

Emmer Parker

I am an older woman (a liberal working in the arts community, who used to subscribe to The Nation long ago) and I have only recently become interested in poetry. The condemnation of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” by her own daughter is what led me down the rabbit hole where I finally found Plath’s wonderful poetry.

I became aware of Anders Carlson-Wee’s poem through an article in the New York Times and I find this poem to be quite brilliant. I also find The Nation to be cowardly and poetry editors Stephanie Burt and Carmen Giménez Smith to be a couple of knee-jerking twits. Mr. Carlson-Wee is owed an apology.

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