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WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON July 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Ok, your hopelessly lazy and stupid host seems to have missed a link to some of Darrell Borque’s poetry. Here is a several mostly prose poems posted on a University of Lafayette website. The form is called ekphrasis, a term I just learned yesterday (See, poetry is improving) which involves describing a work of art in one media in another (in this case, poetry about a painting).

Given what he really thinks is going on in this picture, I think the Right Reverend Jindal is perhaps correct in submitting Borque for review prior to offering the State’s Imprimatur. I mean, really, in front of the children?

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN A DUTCH COURTYARD:
MENAGE A TROIS WITH CHILD WITNESS
By Darrell Borque

(A Dutch Courtyard,
Pieter de Hooch ,
1629-1683)

What these people have withdrawn from is large.
Immeasurable is what they have been drawn toward.
A whole town with churches and a marketplace, barges
in the waterways near the loading docks, the guard
drowsing near the banking house with gleaming sword
lie in the precincts just beyond their wall.A red serge
she’s opted for is but one bright, desired thing; a word
in private, full tankards, exchangeable heat.Courage
is what it takes to cash in toil for velvets and leather,
or to catch the beauty of a man’s limb and not flinch;
in the lifted glass she tells them afternoons in the heather
field is a possibility if they play their cards right. Wench
is a laughable appellation in this close company. Whether
or not ships sail, a possibility; glee in moorings, a cinch.

November 2000

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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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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.