Years ago, my friend Pam and I used to discuss the art critic's power. Pam was a fine artist and often commented that one critic could make or break an art career, even though it was just one man's opinion. The art world has opened up since then, but it is often the opinion of one man (it seems most art critics are still men) which carries a great deal of power.
Which brings me to David Orr, the New York Times poetry critic. I was ready
to devalue Orr's opinions because he made a rather condescending remark about Mary Oliver's poetry, which I like. I rethought this and admitted I might have been too critical of the critic. I read a few more of his recent reviews in the "New York Times Book Review" and decided to read his recently published book "Beautiful and Pointless" (A Guide To Modern Poetry). I have reached the halfway point in the book and am ready to cut Orr some slack. I still don't agree with his opinion of Mary Oliver, but am aware he has done his homework and brings some heft to his criticisms. Still one man's opinion, but one worth considering and a lot of food for thought in what he terms his "peculiar project." I won't comment any further until next month's blog by which time I will hopefully have thoroughly digested his book. The first course certainly has been tasty enough.