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October 07, 1990

I hate to be a spoilsport; I really do. Moreover, I realize that I am an old fogey in an anti-traditionalist, deconstructionist, radicalized counterculture.

However, the love of literature runs deep within my soul, and I cannot continue silent in the face of the total debasement of poetry within the pages of the L.A. Times Book Review.

Shouldn't your weekly selections exhibit some minimal poetic qualities? Is that really so much to ask?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those Neanderthals who insist on the rhymes and rhythms that made lyrics lyrical over the past several thousand years. I can appreciate free verse as well as the next fellow, but I was under the impression that a writer who discards form is under some obligation to compensate on the side of content.

Any institutionalized maniac is able to create chaos out of order, but is that art? Where is the condensation of meaning and feeling? The spiritual uplift? The fresh insight? The breath-catching surprise?

Where in God's name is the beauty? Where in hell are your souls?



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