In the New York Times they're debating whether the 120 unpublished poems of Elizabeth Bishop should be published and added to her 90 published poems...
Of course, anyone who reads the New Yorker's poetry knows that they've been slathering on these "new" Bishop poems for years; since one of their writers is editing the book, should we be surprised? And of course they aren't as good as her others: we've all figured that out by now. Their only value is tied to her celebrity: like finding a new picture of Marylin Monroe, even if she looks crappy in it.
And of course, every poet I know is irked to see those poems there, not because they defile the intent or memory of Bishop's artistic purpose, but because they take up the space that could be used by a LIVING poet who now must instead have his/her work published in Parnassus or Hayden's Ferry, which leaves one less spot for US. (Sing to the tune of I, me, mine.)
But all of that aside, the Times published this little gem from Frau Helen Vendler: "Ms. Vendler writes of one such poem, 'Washington as a Surveyor,' that it is 'a rhythmically awkward and semantically inert Petrarchan sonnet.' Making its publication 'reprehensible,' Ms. Vendler says, is the fact that Bishop had crossed out the entire poem in her notebooks. 'Maybe it should have been printed in The New Yorker entirely crossed out,' she writes."
And I just read that and thought: *that* would have been *so* *cool*
Actually, this is the Times discussing a Vendler piece from The New Republic, but I don't usually see The New Republic, so..... Times gets the credit! Woo hoo!