For this week's edition of the singlemost important cheatsheet you'll ever need, Intern Alexis plunged into the grody world of poetry reviews—and consequently went insane. Slipping in and out of delerious fits of haiku, Alexis had to finish her review of the New York Times Book Review from a nice white room at Bellevue. We're running this week's edition as her cry for help.
When we saw how splashy and flashy the cover of the NYTBR s poetry issue was we immediately put on our skeptical glasses. And we were right to do so the red and yellow cartoon starburst-ed, 1950 s soapbox style cover was just a ploy to distract us from the immensely boring writing inside. Yes, it s admirable that the Times is giving poetry such a prominent stage, but, gosh, most of the poetry reviews — and even the potentially interesting Poetry Symposium — were just really, really dull. In any case, to sum up the poetry issue, we felt simple prose would not suffice. Our true feelings could only be expressed through the haiku:
Mary Karr, what is
Is it edible?
David Orr, we think,
Is smart, funny, and dead on.
Yeah, sometimes we re nice
Poetry is dull
Harvard: 35, Yale: 3
Harold Bloom 4 life.
Speaking of Harold Bloom, he looks absolutely nuts-o in the A Gang of Six photo. Look at him, laughing like a damn fool, with that ridiculous hat on his head. Hmm we re gonna reckon that someone didn t take his crazy pills the morning of the photo shoot
Moving on, we were completely underwhelmed (if that's possible) by the non-poetry sections of the Review.
By Nigel Slater
Reviewed by Amanda Hesser
We thought that after Hessergate 2004, Amanda wasn t allowed to review anything anymore! Apparently, this is not the case. Her review is highly uninspiring and doesn t say much of anything about anything. Hesser raises the interesting point that this book is a best-seller in England and that Slater faces a different crowd in America but doesn t expand on whether she thinks Americans will take to this tale of English food-ery. For someone so passionate about food, she writes, decidedly sans passion: Slater shows how many people s memories are inextricably tied to the food they eat, and how many pivotal events (funerals, birthdays, family arguments, celebrations) involve eating. Profound. Simply profound. In short, we found that the most interesting parts of this review were when she name-dropped some foods (jam tarts, deviled kidneys, Cadbury flakes, jammie dodgers, fairy drops, um, toast) and that s just because we re really hungry right now.
It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir
By Gloria Vanderbilt
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger
Talk about not saying much of anything about anything — Leisl Schillinger does just that in her review of Gloria Vanderbilt s Romance Memoir. Schillinger s jokes, usually funny, are in this case, not. And she goes on about Vanderbilt and her Zen and meditating and qi and we were just like, a) can you please talk some more about how Vanderbilt likes baby doll heads? Because that was creepy and sort of awesome; and b) can you please talk about ambiguously-homosexual-slash-flamingly-homosexual Vanderbilt son, Anderson Cooper, because he is a hottie!?