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« “The New Colossus” Translation Project [by Mihaela Moscaliuc] | Main | Poetry and Oppresion [by Mihaela Moscaliuc] »

February 17, 2020


Closely related: Dispatches from the Poetry Wars has its own Poetry Fashion Editor, the renowned Louis Zukofsky scholar Mark Scroggins, who also happens to be, many would agree, THE best-dressed man in the U.S. poetry world. Even straight guys swoon when they see him walk by. He has, so far, written two hotly popular fashion reports for Dispatches (La Derniere Mode [Poetique]), one last February from the Louisville Conference on 20th Century Literature, and one last April, from the AWP. Take a look. There are pictures galore at the links below of stunningly dressed and styled poets. Mark will soon be writing his third report for us from the 2020 Louisville conference. And sharing pics, too, of course, from the cutting-edges of poetic fashion.

Great piece. -- DL

Question for Poetess Vinny. You say,

>>Add one thing that is slightly off. A pocket square, a pair of fun socks, statement shoes, a bracelet, a brooch, anything that provides you with a tiny bit of artistic flare. Not only do these function as a place to start conversation, but they also make the statement that, as articulate as you are, there are still a few things that shall remain an enigma...<<

So I'm hung up on the word "articulate." What if one is an intelligent writer but is not verbally articulate? I am not the only writer whose tongue can turn into a dollop of sour cream in social situations. I have mortified myself plenty of times, trying to talk to other poets and having only four-legged animal sounds come out. This has even happened to me a couple of times at readings, one where I literally started to make barking sounds at the podium and then went over to a divan against the wall and laid down like the young Leon Trotsky in 1903 and wept in my mortification. There were over a hundred people there and this was a reading my Alma Mater put on for me, all my still-living former professors were there. Would something that is "slightly off" still be recommended for someone like moi, who is more of a lampshade on the head type than an "enigma"? In fact, I find your blanket association of "articulateness" with all poets somewhat excluding. What about poets who are, say, as socially inept as a cheese log? Any fashion recommendations for them? Because pocket squares don't necessarily cut it.

No one ever accused you of being inarticulate, Kent. But aren't you de-contextualizing the column wildly in defense of, what, persons "as socially inept as a cheese log"? The position devalues the aesthetic and exalts "social ineptness." To put it another way, wouldn't you agree, looking around you, that people need all the help they can get to look like adults, and attractive ones at that? DL

Thanks for spreading the news on Mark Scroggins -- and for the picture of Lord Byron in pirate dress-up when you click on the first of these two links. DL

David, not only do my social skills utterly fail me. My attempts at tongue-in-cheek self-mockery utterly fail, too. That's OK. Who cares. Though by the way, that story about the young Trotsky is true. It happened at a cell meeting of the Russian Social Democratic Party sometime before the 1905 uprising. He was so upset he'd blown a speech that he collapsed on a couch and sobbed uncontrollably. And all the comrades loved him for it, apparently. Also, by the way, that is not a "pirate" get-up that Byron sports; it's Lord B. in Greek guerrilla drag, before he went off and died. Handsome dude, eh?

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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