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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Milk” by Moya Cannon


Could he have known
that any stranger’s baby
crying out loud in a street
can start the flow?
A stain that spreads
on fustian
or denim.

This is kindness
which in all our human time
has refused to learn propriety,
which still knows nothing
but the depth of kinship,
the depth of thirst.

–Moya Cannon, from The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, Volume II (2010)

Categories: Poem of the WeekTags: ,

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  1. Harry says:

    Hi there,

    I wonder if this poem is (presented as it is as some sort of statement on the state of lit. crit.) unduly gendered?

    Because it seems to me that both men and women are equally able to produce the most preposterous quasi-academic twaddle regarding poems.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and all that (although one wonders if the way people are being taught these days is really about their arriving at a 'genuine personal opinion'). I can't really blame someone who has convinced themselves on some philosophical or theoretical approach to poetry (be it feminist, Marxist, liberal or whatever…), for I'm more the fool for swallowing what they have convinced themselves of.

    It's regrettable that people tend to look at poems more as merely some sort of 'text in a broader context' and not a beautifully (or not) crafted thing… but that seems to be the way things are going in universities.

    The liberal, egalitarian nonsense that (in its extreme form) might suggest that everything written is of equal importance might be taken to the conclusion that everyone must be institutionally rendered the same. That sort of 'equality' has been, conversely, observed in the most oppressive and totalitarian states that the 20th Century has thrown at us.

    The best poets realise that they are unknowing fools. The worst critics are all-too-knowing fools (…and are of any gender).




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