Blogger takes exception with Selected Poems review

On The New Yorker & Me blog, a writer posting under the moniker “Capedrifter” was bothered enough by Dan Chiasson’s New Yorker review of Updike’s Selected Poems that he penned a rebuttal.

Capedrifter thought Chiasson’s review inconsistent and questionable (and in this, he’s probably not alone). “Yes, it strongly recommends the new Selected Poems . . . And yes, it calls ‘Endpoint’ ‘a perfect sonnet sequence.’ But it also says things like, ‘The problem is that all of his poems about strain, discomfort, and regret cheer him, and we don’t associate cheer with great poetry,’ and ‘Updike’s poems level our intrinsic ranking of occasions’ and ‘Vocabulary is the most overrated element of good writing, or so these poems tempt us to conclude.

“These are questionable criticisms,” Capedrifter says, then proceeds to disprove all three criticisms by citing excerpts from the Selected Poems:

“In Praise of John Updike’s Poetry (Contra Dan Chiasson)”

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