Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sound of Silver

Harold Bloom is an honest to goodness snob. He's one of those dying breed of taste curators who knows the true meaning of culture filtration and, yeah, he's kind of a dickhead. But I studied the hell out of him in college so I was pretty excited to see him speak last night.

At 76 years-old, Bloom edged up to the podium and apologized for coughing into the mic, since he lost his voice when he lost his temper "yelling at the limousine driver for being tardy." With a green shirt as a base layer and a brown sweater on top, Bloom looked very similar to a turtle. He even speaks at a turtle's pace, his heavy eyelids folding over as if he were boring himself to sleep.

But his introduction for the Henri Cole and Martha Serpas poetry reading was far from sleep inducing. As he went through the generations of poets -- Robert Lowell, "completely overrated," Ezra Pound, "who I confess to loathing," Wallace Stevens, John Keats, Mark Strand, all brilliant -- it became apparent that Bloom had probably made a similar introduction a dozen times over and is therefore able to perform with his eyes closed.

When Bloom finished his introduction, the audience began to clap until he raised his hand declaring that "it is completely against tradition to applaud the introducer," which shut all of us up immediately.

I'm not sure exactly why these two poets, Henri Cole and Martha Serpas, received Bloom's stamp of high brow approval because their poetry seems fairly commonplace, which makes me question what other presents Bloom received in addition to his tardy limousine.


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