Also for a second day, girls with glasses will be happy to know that “News Item” [link mine] was read in court again. This time by Dannay, who rushed through it to ask what Silverstein thought of it: “it could go either way,” Silverstein said, “as a poem or not.” Danay asked him if “News Item” – probably Parker’s most famous piece —- was a poem or not. Silverstein said “News Item” “is a wisecrack, not a poem.”And:
This was the beginning of one of my favorite parts of the trial, reading Dorothy Parker’s own words into the court record. The first instance of this was a slam-bang selection, taken from one of the brightest spots of her career, when she was Constant Reader for The New Yorker. Silverstein, in a monotone, was asked to read from the January 7, 1928 issue. Part of what Parker wrote:It’s an Alice in Wonderland postmodern circus! Quite the opposite of Not Much Fun.“There is poetry, and there is not,” Parker wrote. “You can’t use the words good or bad, about it. You must know for yourself. Poetry is so intensely, so terribly, personal. A wise man, a very wise man – well, Hendrik Willem Van Loom, if you must have names – once said to me that if you have any doubt about a poem, then it isn’t a poem. Poetry is for you, for you alone. If, for you, it’s poetry, it will deluge your mind, drain your heart, crinkle your spine. It doesn’t matter whose it is.”
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, a content strategist, critic, and copywriter. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent its formative years as a New Yorker fan blog. (The project garnered some nice compliments and press.) It’s now a collection of conversations—generally civilized—about punctuation, magazines, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
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