Ange Mlinko writes:

"As to the question, "How to find the way to write both an artful and utilitarian poetry?" I can't say I would ever use "poetry" and "utilitarian" in the same sentence, but if Sarah means "relevant to the daily lives of nonintellectuals," I think there are lots of examples, from Gwendolyn Brooks to Daisy Fried, but it entails an abandonment of abstraction and ornament."

I admire the impulse, disagree with the analysis.

Akhmatova was a best-seller in her time (the 1910s, -20s). She managed to write a poetry which fused the simple and the ornamental, the harsh & the sweet.

One can deflect this with more analysis, of one flavor or another. But her impact, her commitment to a social, populist poetry (similar to Whitman) is just one example which denies the Puritan form of this dichotomy, which American poets seem to fall into again & again.

& I don't want to surrender Wally from Hartford, either.

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