Norm Sibum sizes up the recent poet-critic panel discussion in Montreal (audio below)
I was told to smile and do friendly talk. Accordingly, I am smiling and doing friendly talk. Not that what follows is in any way important, literature not much more now than a spectator sport, as is any stand-off between barroom arm wrestlers. But even so, an evening vouchsafed to poetry by way of a panel of critics (who also write the stuff—poetry, that is); an evening consecrated to—what?—the explication of, the interpretation of, the bashing of, the treating with poems in some way or other; an evening devoted to the separating of stalwarts from dullards, was had at the Word Bookstore. It was had under the aegis of ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry’. Alright then. The panel, moderated by one of this fair nation’s leading literary lights, when all the dust had settled, seemed to have acquitted itself well. The Moesian thought so, and because he can be a surly bastard, I was inclined to take his ‘take’ on the matter. But then the man might have been preoccupied by the antics of Putin and American neo-libs gadding about in their stretch pants and limos, not to mention our very own Clown Prince and our very own Dragon Lady and the cartwheels they were effecting. In light of such events, how earth-shaking was this panel?