Friday, April 8, 2016

THE NEW YORKER's Calvin Trillin Chinese food poem upstages National Poetry Month.

Calvin Trillin's poem (both text and read by Trillin himself:

Trillin's NEW YORKER biography:

My opinion:
Trillin probably intended "Have They Run Out of Provinces Yet?" as light verse poking mild fun at foodies wanting to eat the latest "in" cuisine.  (Guessing David Remnick, who runs THE NEW YORKER, may have had the last word over poetry editor Paul Muldoon on the poem's appearance online/in print.)

Trillin's poem might have been less controversial in 1969 or 1970--when unchecked cultural insensitivity to non-Caucasians and non-heterosexuals was the norm (though, in a rare exception, Latinos successfully managed to have Frito-Lay's stereotyped animated Frito Bandito commercials pulled from television).

In the digital age, reflexive anger and pushback is immediate.

And the sad byproduct is an even greater ignorance of National Poetry Month (though not in Los Angeles, where a lot of poets are still in the afterglow of the AWP convention held last week) in favor of talking about an elderly, long-term NEW YORKER contributor who doesn't know what year/century he now lives in.

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