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And the new Poet Laureate of the United States is…

July 17, 2008


…not you!

Congratulations Kay Ryan! Your one year of service as poet laureate of the United States (PLOTUS!) entitles you to no power whatsoever, at least one partially complimentary, partially dismissive NYTimes write up, and far too many people who won’t bother to respect you for your individual talents but will, instead, compare you to other poets and use trite and crappy words to distill your poetic struggle into one pull quote. That’s actually what Dana Goia does for a living!

Dana Goia, a poet and the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, was an early supporter of Ms. Ryan’s work, describing her as the “thoughtful, bemused, affectionate, deeply skeptical outsider.”

“She would certainly be part of the world if she could manage it,” he said. “She has certain reservations. That is what makes her like Dickinson in some ways.”

for those of you looking to someday fill this post, please organize your life and career so they match the cliches outlined below

the poet-cliche-tally thus far:

  • outsider status (key: an outsider who is now part of the elite–artsy types eat that shit up)
  • no recognition for your work (you’re an outsider–duh!)
  • “highly” accessible poetry (ryan, for example, is “funny” yet “philosophical”; i don’t know if you’ve ever spent time with a philosopher but it is NOT funny. like at all.)
  • have no definite plans for the post
  • have a disdain (either current or past) for your art; an interior struggle, if you will–man v. self!
  • a willingness to say your childhood was influential (at least for the article)
  • work which regularly appears in The New Yorker
  • the ability to live on approx. $35,000 that year (of course you’ll be pulling down an extra $100k for teaching a semester or less, too, so no worries, right?)
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