Cervantes' Intent
Critics have long held that, even if Cervantes was at least somewhat aware that his work would be successful, this was only because he knew it was funny, and hoped that, in reading it, as he famously wrote in his first preface to Don Quixote, "the melancholy would be moved to laughter, and the merry made merrier still."
The Tolson Exception: The Anthology in the 21st Century
Whenever a new anthology of modern U.S. poetry comes along, it seems that some distinguished critic or other is fated to take up arms, defending his or her vision of canonical distinction against the treachery of "inclusiveness." The latest eminence to cast herself as such a centurion is Helen Vendler, who reproaches Rita Dove's Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry (2011) in a review that has garnered no shortage of sensational, morbid attention ("Are These the Poems to Remember?," NYRB, November, 2011).
World Poetry Grindhouse
Are you on the record anywhere about Carlos Ramírez Hoffman or Carlos Weider? That was the indelicate question I kept mulling over—and ultimately kept to myself—during the Q and A session after Raúl Zurita's Sept. 26 poetry reading here at Northwestern University, where Zurita was accompanied by his latest translator, Anna Deeny.
Flippin' Poets in Funny Places
I've been following developments in Filipino rap culture over the past few years, in part because I enjoy listening to rap, but also because there's this fascinating way that the rap battle format has certain similarities to the Filipino tradition of poetic debate called Balagtasan, so that battles in the Philippines incorporate certain elements of that tradition.