Eight American Poets: an anthology
Cryptography prior to the modern age
was effectively synonymous with encryption,
the conversion of information from a readable state
to apparent nonsense.
Berryman, Bishop, Plath, Sexton, et al
(whose verse preserves badly in alcohol)
distilled tepid poems full half-throttle:
Not-so-wild turkeys, jiggling their wattle.
I strive in vain to uncover meaning
though such dry fields are barely worth gleaning;
pompous hackademics of brave new verse
have shown, through their scrawling, it can get worse;
wordsmiths of dullness for grad students’ gain,
grant scholars trading in pleasure for pain
with each odd word choice or wretched refrain.
Berryman, Bishop, Lowell, Sexton and Plath
prepare me for rest in their tepid bath
as I try to read them—but fall asleep
the book upon my breast, my boredom deep.
A soporific tried and true, such dreck.
(Amazing they could even cash a check.)
Did madness excuse them to make a fuss,
force meaningful discourse to languish thus
in obfuscation and cryptography
submerged in rarefied verbosity?
What frumpy muse, nose in her thesaurus
hoped to, this scholarly way, implore us
while putting on airs un-deliriously
to study such silly screeds seriously?
Berryman, Bishop, Plath, Sexton, and Lowell
lured me with poetry into their hole.
Lord, how these clowns made a good thing boring;
they should have set earthbound souls to soaring.
but turned it into a master’s thesis,
fracturing verse to erudite pieces.
Berryman, overrated mass of sheer
vocabulary overload, unclear,
seems more to justify modernist doubt
than to show what real poetry’s about.
Bishop, cryptic identity-monger
(America’s Vassar-girl no longer)
wrote vaguely accessible verse, sometimes . . .
and some of her poetry even rhymes!
Plath, prima donna, boring semantics
failing to compensate for her antics
blathering bitterness, head in oven
might have been happier joining a coven.
Sexton, pill-headed prophetess unchained
half poetess of half-sense, half-brained
departed with zest, from her own garage.
(We’re still decoding her cryptic barrage).
Lowell, left quaking in his unstoned grave
more interesting—but still a verbose knave.
These self-absorbed nerds, when not at their shrink
checked out in adultery, pills and drink.
Such sad celebrants of depraved excess,
no vanguard at all, are more a regress
to endless jaded pointlessness and dope,
their abstract verbiage void of all hope.
Who canonized these unexploded shells,
these duds, these fizzling scribes of milquetoast hells . . .
must we hail and applaud such labored lines?
Instead, make them pay some posthumous fines!
They withered awhile, these funereal blooms;
let REAL poets turn over in their tombs;
call spades on what my ringing spade exhumes.
Cream of lyric America. I yawn.
It’s late now. White moonlight exalts the lawn.
The world sleeps on, lulled to death by dull verse
May their ghosts, fully exorcised, disperse . . .
My ditty is based on this lyrical sedative.
(I had a heck of a time trying to swallow it):
poetry now lost at sea.
Muse overboard! (retch)