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We don’t need no stinkin’ poet laureate July 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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6 comments

In another giant step towards the reinstatement of the Dark Ages, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declined to send up the name of the Blanco-nominated poet laureate to the Senate for confirmation in the last legislative session. The story broke in the INDependent newspaper and was later taken up by the Lafayette Advertiser (but no other Louisiana news outlet I can find).

When asked by the Advertiser, Jindal or someone (it’s not possible to tell from the badly edited story) suggested that retired University of Lafayette professor Darrell Borque might be renominated.

In a quote that syntactically cannot be tied back to anyone named in the story, someone told the Advertiser, “In no way is it reflecting on him,” he said. He’s looking for the best and brightest, and after a review, that might be Bourque, he said.”

This is a dangerous and powerful position, poet laureate, so I guess we have to be careful. I mean, you don’t want just anyone going out into schools around small children teaching them about poetry. I mean, you know what artists are like. Better run this one past the Grand Inquisitor.

I can’t find any examples of his work published online, but there is a reference to him found on Google Books in verspers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality. I guess if you’re going to write about God or spirituality and expect to be renominated by the likes of Jindal you better be the right flavor of Godly.

Now in the great scheme of things maybe you don’t think this is important. Its not as if Louisiana isn’t rife with more serious problems. You may have noticed that here on Toulouse Street we think poetry is important. The schools should expose everyone to it as much as possible because it teaches the power of language and its uses and combines the imaginative with the analytical in a way that I can’t help but believe improves the thinking of those who read or study it.

Perhaps the Jindalites don’t agree, and couldn’t see the point in bothering to send Borque’s name up. More disturbing is the thought that someone in a post like this might be subject to the sort of ideological vetting common to the modern GOP even when patently illegal.

You can spend your time worrying about the War on Terror. I’m much more worried about the Taliban among us, the ones standing next to you in the grocery check outline who would cheerfully take on the task of loading the queers and apostates and liberals into the cattle cars. If this respected retired professor isn’t renominated, it will tell us something about just how deeply Jindal has drunk of the kool aid.

Update: If you came to this post directly, browse to http://www.toulousestreet.net and you can read a poem I found online.

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