What Is It
About the English?


What is it about the English? I can remember my father talking about how certain poems of his seemed to drive British reviewers insane --- and now I find myself in the same situation. I am flattered, but bewildered.

The poem you mention in The New Yorker ("Year One") seems to offend you so intensely. Delightful. Although aren't your remarks somewhat of a cheap shot, considering I have in the past year and a half published in that magazine much longer and to my mind much better poems.

Anyway, I would be curious to know which poets you do enjoy.

--- Yours,
Franz Wright

Our poetry editor responds:

The Editor of RALPH
God knows, what is it about the English? We adore them. They speak funny, wear frumpy clothes, have delicious ale --- called "bitter" --- and terrible food. They don't take baths all that often, and drink too much tea. Unlike some of our readers, they never seem to take themselves too seriously.

You're not the first one to confuse us with our forefathers off there in the North Atlantic somewhere. Several months ago we received a letter accusing us of harboring "Bloodless Brits."

We loved it, even managed to cook up a photograph of Our Editor as a BB, even though she never donned a fedora nor took up a cane in her life. (She claims to have been born in Paducah KY, the daughter of an impoverished Yogic horse-thief.)

As far as our taste in poetry goes, if you go to our current "Briefs," you'll be able to read her rather dotty opinion on the subject.

--- A. W. Allworthy

Go to the original review that started all this mess

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