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Thursday August 21, 2014
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Ron Padgett and Ander Monson

 

continued

affinity with the visual artists who have lived and worked among them. Most important, their poetry is characterized by an intellectual playfulness that relishes wordplay and popular culture, willfully risking the appearance of triviality while often confronting the limits of language and the imagination. No one has contributed more to sustain the liveliness of this writing than Ron Padgett. Since the early 1960s he has been writing a deceptively spare poetry that is often quite funny and reveals its very serious playfulness only indirectly. For instance, early in his new book, How to Be Perfect, the poem "Rinso" begins with him doing the dishes but rapidly goes somewhere else entirely before returning to the task at hand:

The slight agitation
of pots and pans
and a few dishes
in sudsy water
into which hands
plunge and fingers
operate like in
a magic act in which
bubbles burst
into flowers presented
to the blonde girl
who rotates on
a wheel that flies
up through the
ceiling and
disappears.
The dishes
are sparkling.


Yes, it's funny, but there is also something absolutely wonderful about it.

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