What I Sometimes Think Other Poets’ Book Blurbs Must Say About Me
(A Found Poem)
Her work reveals a poet unable to merge cultural experience with the personal, anger with redemption, or to expose tragedy as possibility.
None of her experiences—a doctor's visit, a long-distance phone call, or the mayor's ban on front-porch upholstered couches—become an opportunity to explore our everyday lives.
Not an internationally known poet, short-story writer, novelist, and film maker, she has no recent books.
Not a major talent who is sadly underappreciated.
She makes a secret of her anti-capitalist, anti-materialistic beliefs and does not provide us with a vision of the individual as a willing composite of cultural and economic forces.
There are no unique experiences here: people are not visited by angels. Most of us, most of the time, see the same dumb things, in the same dumb ways. Everything begins to look like TV. We must be thankful for the occasional person—not Nancy Pagh—who tells us again how strange it all is.
Her poetry fails to creep up on you quietly, touching you in your most tender spots, an otherwise ordinary moment suddenly blossoming into strange color and shape. It only takes a few poems to realize that this is not real life, "real" as in vital and longed-for.
She has not taken on the burden of history, with its heaped atrocities, its moral decay, its unimaginable sufferings.
Hers is not a remarkable selection of 20th-century Amazonian literature from the indigenous and mestizo people of the Amazon basin. It fails to recover their forgotten voices for the Latin American literary canon. Few of these poems are collected or translated into English for the first time.
No fantasies or meditations on friendship and love: erotic, romantic, tormented, spurned, married, illicit, patriarchal, filial, professional, and shot-gun.
It doesn't pretend to offer a list, a sequence, a narrative—or do everything it can to subvert all those reassuring codes of order.
This is a playful, maddening, skeptical, artfully empty, fulfilling maze of words and ideas that only someone other than Nancy Pagh could construct.
Without great skill, in language neither lyrical nor colloquial, in a style neither experimental nor narrative, she does not turn her startlingly sharp eye to nature or to the nature of living and dying.
One of the least influential yet most understood American poets working today.
While unintelligent, these poems are intellectual. I will spurn these pages again and again.
The most forgettable poems I've read in a long time.
Poetry does get better than this.