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Celebrating Doggerel

May 18, 1986

Today I received the brochure of "A Celebration of California Writing," to be held at the Mark Taper Forum in June, and was outraged to discover that there is a total of one poet on all four panels (a total of 16 writers and moderators), and that the sole poet is Rod McKuen, a hack who is not respected by anyone in America who is seriously concerned about the art of poetry. Presumably McKuen qualifies because he has made a lot of money with his song-lyrics and doggerel, and therefore is "marketable."

The facts are that some of the finest living American poets currently reside in California, including Robert Duncan, Carolyn Kizer, William Everson, Robert Haas, Michael Palmer and David Antin, and any one of them would be a valuable participant in any serious conference on California writing today.

CLAYTON ESHLEMAN

Los Angeles

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