Saturday, 24 March 2007

Saturday morning reading

I've probably mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of James Fenton, but I enjoyed this piece in today's Guardian. In particular, I found myself agreeing with what he says about theories on the authorship of Shakespeare's plays being a lot less important than the actual plays themselves. There's a similar thing going on nowadays with, for example, the whole Plath/Hughes saga, in which the life stories of the poets seems to obscure the actual poetry.
There was another good article, on Paul Muldoon. I do like his work a lot, although I usually find I can only take so much in one sitting, so rich is the gumbo of puns, wordplay, learned allusions and pop culture references that he serves up. But what I really liked about the interview was the fact that he doesn't make writing poetry sound like something to which he's been sentenced, as some writers do. Of course, the whole process probably IS a lot more enjoyable if you're a genius like him, but it's still good to remember that the reading and writing of it are always supposed to be, at some level, pleasurable.

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