Woke Poetry for Today’s Women, the Real Adam Smith, and Duchamp’s Last Day
Poetry is apparently popular again in the UK, but what kind of poetry is it? Mostly inspirational confection with an occasional dash of transgression, like these “poems” from Rupi Kaur. Maybe your mom pinned inspirational statements above the kitchen sink? As far as I can tell, Kaur and Charly Cox’s poetry is that for today’s woke women.
Doug Ramsey reviews Helen Sung and Dana Gioia’s jazz and poetry collection, Sung with Words: “The high quality of the instrumentalists and singers who support Sung makes this…an all-star album.” I have the CD, and it is good.
William Logan on the cantankerous criticism of W. M. Spackman: “If a critic doesn’t have enthusiasms to weigh against his bêtes noires, he’s just a crank. Given a chance, this particular critic would probably have limited the high school curriculum to Homer, Virgil, Ovid, and the Greek dramatists in the original tongues, with a little math thrown in, leaving the student to pick up the rest on his own. (He’s not uniformly approving of the Classics: Caesar and Cicero he finds ‘unreadable.’) Like many a misanthrope, Spackman was convinced that the world had gone to hell in a handbasket. He laments that Greek and Latin were replaced in high schools by subjects less demanding, less absorbing, less entertaining, subjects like social studies, hygiene, and shop. Those who suffered through all three (and in my case watched a boy in shop almost lose a hand) know that Latin and calculus offer far more to a student with certain hungers. What Spackman would think of the failure now to teach English grammar can be imagined. I know graduate students with so little knowledge of tenses that they write all their poems in present tense, as if they had no past or future. Spackman is never more delightful than when, like Housman, his deep immersion in Greek and Latin literature lets him tot up the errors of some swollen-headed scholar.”
Dominic Green calls the film Cold War“a true work of art”: “Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War is a love story that begins in Soviet-controlled Poland, crosses into the free world and back, and ends in tragedy. Pawlikowski (Ida) has been nominated as Best Director in this year’s Oscars, and Cold War as Best Foreign Film. The Oscars are as fixed by political preference as a Soviet tractor race, but if there is any justice, Pawlikowski and Cold War will win.”
Pam Fine is the new editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The real Adam Smith: “Today Smith’s reputation as the prophet of free market economics, and of the ‘invisible hand’ of self-interest guiding the wealth creation those markets produce, has swollen almost to the point of caricature. Jesse Norman, a prominent Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party in Britain and the author of Edmund Burke: The First Conservative, now offers us a biography of ‘the father of economics,’ as Adam Smith’s the subtitle dubs Scotland’s most famous thinker. Norman’s goal is to smooth away some of that caricature of Adam Smith as the apostle of laissez-faire (a term which never appears in any of Smith’s works) capitalism to arrive at a more nuanced portrait of the true historical Smith, and the profound genius, underneath.”
Duchamp’s last day: “The day had been delightful for him: he visited the Vuibert bookshop on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, posted a letter to publisher Pierre Belfond, wandered around the Left Bank and received a visit from old friend Georges Herbiet. Shambroom reports that Herbiet and Duchamp cheerfully spoke about many subjects during that last rendez-vous, including chess, the peaceful death of Herbiet’s wife, and Duchamp’s plans to travel to Chicago for a Dada exhibit as a last hurrah.”
Essay of the Day:
In The Atlantic, Diane Redleaf writes about how easy it is for innocent parents to get caught up in the child-protection system and what to do about it:
“Hotline reporters generally do not fret over the potential impact of their calls on the accused. They reasonably expect Child Protective Services (CPS) authorities to competently investigate each case and accurately assign blame. To some, an occasional misplaced allegation is acceptable collateral damage in the fight against a terrible crime. But as the story of the Weidners reveals, it’s rather easy for innocent people to get caught up in the system and all too difficult to then get out of it unscathed.
“The resident who called the CPS hotline presumably thought Jacob had a skull fracture. While the hospital would not comment on this case because of privacy issues, it did say that its staff members must, by law, report suspected abuse and do not need to consult other doctors if they have ‘reasonable cause.’ Child abuse was one possible cause of Jacob’s reported skull fracture—but not a particularly likely one. Jacob had no bruises or other noticeable signs of maltreatment associated with abuse, and he was in near-daily contact with doctors and nurses, who would likely have noticed abuse or neglect. If the resident had asked the treating team about the Weidners—which, according to Michelle Weidner, she did not— she would have heard that they were attentive and caring parents, not ones who presented any red flags for child abuse.
“Other staff at the hospital, as Michelle recalls, quickly reassured the Weidners that the hotline call, while mandated, did not reflect their views of the Weidners’ likely culpability. After receiving the hotline call, however, CPS treated the Weidners as the prime suspects in an opened abuse investigation.”
Photo: Croatian chapel
Poem: Austen Segrest, “The Ice Advances”
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