Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poetry in Motion?

I got a kick out of the current edition of Milestones, the occasional newsletter published by the MTA Metro-North Railroad that is distributed on train seats. In the "Courtesy Corner," an anonymous writer riffs through several of the way April is a "cruel" month: unpredictable weather, tax time... and National Poetry Month.

Huh? And why is National Poetry Month a bad thing? The writer continues: "(Anyone up for a little Rod McKuen?)" Later on, after offering some ways commuters can be more polite -- less cruel, I suppose -- the writer ends the item as follows: "Let's try to make April the most courteous month... it beats spending it reading Rod's free verse..."

Poor, poor Rod McKuen just got dissed by the MTA! So I emailed the transit authority:

I got a chuckle out of this newsletter -- sepecifically the anti-National Poetry Month stance (weird given the MTA's Poetry in Motion program). But who in your office has a beef with the work of Rod McKuen?

I laughed at the mention of him because (a) most folks won't know who McKuen is, (b) it's odd to target the work of one poet, and (c) whomever wrote that knows McKuen wrote free verse.

Equal parts commendation and criticism, I suppose.

True, McKuen's work can be somewhat formulaic, but I still think it's a weird cheap shot to make fun of his work in an MTA newsletter. Not a big deal, but bizarre.

So, in honor of National Poetry Month, I'm off to buy a McKuen book.

No comments: