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Martin Elster 03-21-2021 12:30 PM

‘For John Whitworth (1945-2019)’ by Dwayne Barrick
For John Whitworth (1945-2019)
by Dwayne Barrick
March 21, 2021

John Riley 03-21-2021 01:00 PM

Interesting. Isn't this the same site that was being discussed here just the other day? Surely there is a better place to celebrate his work if you want to celebrate his work, or would he be at home there?


Your verse a mix of Geisel and Voltaire
(and just a touch of Ginger and Astaire)
I'm not kidding.

Ann Drysdale 03-21-2021 01:10 PM

Good grief.

A touch of wit is worth its what in gold?

Martin Elster 03-21-2021 01:24 PM

John, yes, it's the same site that was being discussed on another thread.

Ann, I was thinking the same thing about "writ" in the first line.

By the way, I know at least one Spherian has several poems on that site. Mark Stone had his first published poem there, but more have appeared there since.

I, myself, have some old poems there, which I submitted quite a while ago, but haven't submitted there lately.

Mark McDonnell 03-21-2021 02:12 PM

Oh, now I remember where I'd seen The Society of Classical Poets before. It published another Whitworth tribute that caused some discussion here a while back.

They both have the same weird bitterness in common, where they feel obliged to praise Whitworth by sneering at something else (free-verse/postmodernism...yawn)

John was kind-hearted, clever and hilarious, whatever his politics. He deserves better, I reckon.

Julie Steiner 03-21-2021 02:30 PM

I do admire the intention and courage behind this tribute. Honoring greatness through art is not for the faint of heart because comparisons can't help but be made--particularly when one is attempting to do honor to a great artist by means of his or her own medium.

And John really was inimitable, wasn't he?

I do wonder if the poet's admiration was more for John's political outspokenness than for his poetic craft, since this tribute has many traits that John's work did not. But it did give me occasion to think of John, which I consider a good thing.

Re: venues: I'm not a fan of the SCP, and presumably they wouldn't be a fan of me, either. But if I thought that that venue was the best way to reach an audience for whom a certain message was intended (and if their editors didn't immediately reject such a message, or messenger--big "if"), I might submit something there. I regard First Things in the same way. If you want your work to change minds, or even just to invite people to reconsider their positions, you can't spend all your time talking to people who agree with you.

On the other hand, I also accept the fact that my work's association with a venue with an obvious editorial point of view will inevitably be taken as an endorsement of that editorial point of view, no matter how furiously I issue handwaving caveats and explanations elsewhere.

Personally, I won't be participating in badmouthing anyone else for making publication decisions that I would not have made myself. I like to give others the benefit of the doubt. But I understand why others are far less forgiving in that regard, and I think everyone has a perfect right to express vehement disagreement with my publication decisions, or those of others.

John Riley 03-21-2021 03:32 PM

This is a ridiculously terrible poem! I have to admit I did not find John to be "clever and hilarious regardless of his politics" but even with that caveat, he deserves much better than this. It looks as though this group, as have so many, has sunk so deeply into the cesspool of their own anger and petulance about the modern world they have decided to forego any notion of what makes a good poem, be it in meter or non-meter or by word splatters of the deranged. It isn't a fitting tribute to anyone unless it's said in jest at a roast of someone who is still with us.

Roger Slater 03-21-2021 04:46 PM

John, I didn't hear anyone say the poem was good. I completely agree with your assessment of it. I couldn't even finish reading it.

Martin Elster 03-21-2021 05:11 PM

I got through it, though it was torturous.

John Riley 03-21-2021 05:44 PM

You're right, Roger. I didn't need to point out how bad it is.

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