Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Dean Young - Tony Hoagland or "An Excuse to Repost Photos"
On his blog (which I frequently read) John Gallaher posts up a letter from Dean Young that appears in the current APR:
After years of being a defect, it is a pleasant surprise to be upgraded to an effect in Tony Hoagland’s characteristically insightful and cogently hectoring essay (“The Dean Young Effect,” July/August 2009). Equally flattering is to be blamed for so much that he perceives as being wrong with contemporary poetry as particularly evidenced in a group of younger writers, who I am sure are deeply influenced by my work regardless if they have read it or not. Before I quaff the proffered drams of hemlock for my corrupting crimes (apparently to the chagrin of my poor comrades doing the reading for admission into creative writing programs across our fair land), I wish to humbly suggest a flaw in Mr. Hoagland’s essay, a flaw shared by much writing about contemporary poetry. It is a lack of, to use T.S. Eliot’s phrase, historical sense, to acknowledge that poetry has been around a long time before Apollinaire. Far beyond my misguiding of younger poets, I feel as a matter of pride that I must point out the awful effect my work has had on poetry in general. Surely I am as least in part to blame for John Donne’s willful obscurities and distortions; and what about those stylistic fripperies of Gerard Manley Hopkins? Not to mention the obviously inflated self-mythologizing of Whitman, and, even, the smarmy ironies of Chaucer. The list, as any delicate reader knows, goes on and on.
This, of course, again, is a great opportunity for me to redisplay a couple of my favorite Hoagland and Hoagland-related photos.