Saturday, May 31, 2008

Christopher Middleton: Tankard Cat

Off at the crack of dawn for Chicago, to talk to Spertus about Louis Zukofsky. Looks to be a good time, tho much of the academic community has breezed out of town; there're still be enough poets & old friends to make this a fine & dandy outing.
Tankard Cat, Christopher Middleton (Sheep Meadow, 2004)


Anthony Cronin subtitles his Beckett biography "the last modernist" (a phrase I savagely wanted for the LZ book), but of course neither LZ nor SB is the "last" in the modernist tradition. Me, I have a deep fondness for poets still working in the knotty, poly-referential, full-blown hi-octane modernist tradition. Not all of them are named "John," but John Matthias and John Peck are 2 of the best. And Christopher Middleton, who must have recently turned 80, just keeps getting better & better. The poems of Tankard Cat range from simple & pellucid to mid-strength dense, but they're all shot thru with the same musicality & sharpness of eye, nose, & palate, & informed by the same keen intelligence. Cosmopolitan – "world citizen" – poetry at its best.

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