“The audience for poetry is like a vastly reduced version of the audience for college football — superstitious, gossipy and divided into factions no less fervent for having only an occasional idea of what’s going on outside their own campuses. It’s a hard crowd to write for, and the critic who sets himself up as a color commentator inevitably struggles to find a style that can please Peter without needlessly riling up Paul. James Longenbach is one of the finest scholar-critics working today, and his method for dealing with poetry’s fractious readership is simple: He just tells all parties they’re wrong.”
Commentary about poetry that can be described as “antireductionist” is worth reading if only to ascertain whether the description fits. One suspects the meaning Orr has in mind for reductionism is more lit crit than serious philosophy.
Read the full review here . . .