Thursday, May 02, 2024

Durs Grünbein, Taylor Swift, and critics who say their works are too long

 In 1999, German poet Durs Grünbein published a 229-page collection of new poetry, "Nach den Satiren" (Suhrkamp). I read three reviews that all said he should have published a much shorter collection (80 to 90 pages). Each reviewer listed poems they thought were either definite keepers or obvious flops. I compared the lists and saw that one reviewer's keeper was always another reviewer's flop. I remembered this after reading many reviews of Taylor Swift's "The Tortured Poets Department" (2024) that list songs she should have cut – with everyone disagreeing about the keepers and flops. All this speaks for long collections of poems or songs that readers or listeners can curate themselves. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 2 May 2024)

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