Friday, April 11, 2008

Literary criticism is a farce

In Seattle, there is a fun little program called "Poetry on Buses," where they put poetry on buses. The poems are sometimes fun to read, if you've got nothing better to do. Anyway, I spotted this gem on Wednesday night:

By Giovanni Paredes, age 6

I dreamt that a zebra was talking to me
I gave him some food
And walked away

The zebra followed me
I yelled, "GO BACK!"

He didn't want to go back
But he went back
Ate some grass
And then drove off
In a red monster truck

I like it, but here's the slightly maddening thing: I was an English major in college, and this little ditty by a six-year-old is, with a few possible exceptions, way better than any poem I encountered in four years. You could probably trick someone into including this in the next Norton Anthology. I've heard tenured professors ramble on for an hour about poems far less profound or pleasing than this one. And it was written by Giovanni Paredes, age 6.

Literary criticism is a farce.

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