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Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator


Damn you, Atkinson. You left me some pretty choice bits, though. I read this piece while walking along E. 11th this morning, and I don’t recommend the experience. It was this line that put me over the edge:

Regardless of whether it’s a poem or not, consider this exercise: Try listening to something else — your friend, a stranger, an enemy, a tree — without forming any judgment or waiting for your turn to talk.

Here I collapsed in giggles and had to close the paper. For the next two blocks I was looked at unkindly by strangers – a glimpse into the life of the poet, to be sure – because I couldn’t keep a straight face. The rest of it doesn’t quite approach the same heights, though there are flashes of greatness:

Yet it goes farther when it comes to our core; the writer of a political poem places his or herself in a room full of mirrors, where they see themselves in everything.

Yes. I couldn’t have put it better myself. That’s exactly the problem: seeing yourself in everything. The reason most political poetry (and virtually everything the esteemed A. Shakra puts on paper) is so irritating is precisely its bottomless narcissism. Alas, there are many things in this big old world that couldn’t care less about us. Even the trees: they may seem like they’re always there to lend a sympathetic ear, but you should hear how they talk about you when you’re not around.

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