Monday, February 12, 2007


Back in December, when attempting to sum up the most important contributions of the year 2006, I had the following to say on the subject of "best in music":

Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way. "Not Ready To Make Nice" beats anything else hands down.

As we've all found out today, the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences agrees. I will refrain from a Colbertesque "I called it!" (I hate balloons and I'm allergic to the stuff they're made of), nor will I say anything about vindication, mainly because I'm trying to keep this a language blog and I want to avoid needless flamewars.
But let me just say this: for the most part, I am not comfortable with late 20th century poetry. Call me whatever you want, I just don't get it. I've always found Bukowski over-the-top vulgar and I could never see the point of Ferlinghetti. And although Seifert has his moments and even Mihálik and Miłosz have a thing or two to say to me, I cannot help but think that poetry as a genre is largely dead. But fear not, my friends, all is not yet lost. While traditional poetry was slowly marching towards its demise, those who were willing to push the limits of language while confined to a set structure (for this is my definition of poetry) have found a new calling as (singer)songwriters. To me, Carole King, Chantal Kreviazuk ("Time"), Mary Chapin Carpenter (her "Jubilee" knocks my socks off every single time), Pavel Dobeš, Jakub Sienkiewicz of Elektryczne gitary and many others like them are the real Shakespeare's, Puškin's and Khayyam's of our time.
And so I firmly believe that when earlier today, the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences honored the Dixie Chicks with 5 Grammys, at least one of those was awarded to Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Dan Wilson as poets for the best poem written last year. And as someone who believes that "Not Ready To Make Nice" is not only that, but also one of the most powerful pieces of American poetry ever written which will serve as a testament to the troubled first decade of the 21st century for years to come, the only thing I can say is "Damn straight!"


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