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Poetic Justice

May 11, 1986

I appreciated Richard Eder's take (Ex Libris, Book Review, March 9) on the U.S. poet laureateship. We deserve to be apologetic about it. Like the obscenity of "Poet's Corner" at St. John's the Divine, this is simply a further sanitizing of American poetry--yet another Establishment seal of approval. For years now, Robert Penn Warren, far past his poetic prime, has been stuccoed o'er with all the seals, medals and bay leaves it is possible for a nation hostile and indifferent to poetry to bestow on its safest writers. I'll not believe in any of these loathsome awards until Charles Bukowski gets one! Then I'll know American poetry is in good shape, out of the hands of academies and their toadies.

ROBERT PETERS

Irvine

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