Contestant

“But how will the artist avoid the corruption of his time which encloses him on all hands?”

                                             –Friedrich Schiller

It’s too easy these days to speak prophetically. Abundant writing, much stunted. My typical reaction subscribes to an alarming uniformity: I don’t think I want to read any more.

I can picture Andrea Cohen (and many others) routinely encouraged in her blooming youth, repeatedly assured that everything she perceives and utters can only be simply precious. Gifted: another term generously applied. But the outcome has been stifling. Uninspired, inadequate. Her Midas touch, neither benefit nor curse. She’s assumed the correct pose, quite accurately, in which a little learning is quickly twisted—enhancing the poet’s ego.

I know this much: she ranks as an exceptional player. It wouldn’t be so offensive except that Cohen’s insipid musing lands in prestigious magazines, where the uninitiated graze for fashionable models. For every poem of hers that gets published, that’s one more poem we don’t get to read—a poem that actually could make a difference, exposed.

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