“I don’t plan ahead,” he told WW via email this week . . . “
Perhaps he should. In an embarrassing appearance in Portland on Wednesday, Pinsky, former laureate, tried to rest on his laurels and failed miserably. Portland is notorious for being overly generous with standing ovations, but not a one person stood up for him.
I don’t feel badly about the money I paid to hear him (supposedly) talk about the links between poetry and music. After all, it was a benefit for Poetry Northwest. But I do feel badly for Poetry Northwest, which deserved better.
Pinsky (I kid you not) read to us from that day’s local newspaper: an article about band classes in a local school. He talked about being in the dumb class in his own school. At some point, a man in the audience shouted, “We’re not the dumb class.”
His own poems used to be good. And if you’re going to talk about the music of poetry, the new poems better reflect that. They sounded like bad, musicless prose.
He made a bad joke about poets wanting to work the word “crappy” into a poem and all I could think was, “What a rebel.“
In his defense, my wife said he visited her MFA program 20 years ago and was very generous then. It’s too bad about him now.