Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Faint Praise

Occasionally lyrical, and always whimsical,
   he writes with the verve of the modern traveler
Her aesthetic choices are always daring, as if to strike a nerve,
   the tension is unbearable
He raises new vistas in his work,
   pushing towards the outer edges of the craft
A remarkable debut, her striking voice emerges fully formed,
   prismatic and thoughtful

Finely written, his book grapples with the liminal interstices
   of tradition and modernity
She captures something of the languor of the immigrant's condition
   and its tragedy
Thus it was a surprise to behold the new directions he is pursuing,
   a testament to his ambitions
Now she has turned her keen lens on western idées fixes,
   she sites her work at an unquiet juncture

Favoring the edgy, the argument becomes a touch unrefined,
   it betrays his purpose
The pose of the insider has served her well,
   less incisive are her wrought portrayals
A close reading reveals the shortcomings
   of his troubling and combative approach
What are we to make, on the page,
   of her more experimental departures?

Tellingly, the initial promise and aplomb appear to have gone awry
   on this well worn terrain
It is when she strays into Austenite stylings
   that she loses the edge to her oft-biting satire
By pursuing the phantom thread of dislocation,
   he risks raising the tired tropes of mulatto identity
The Forster inclination doesn't serve her well,
   her gimlet quill ought to be reserved for life's incongruities

The subtext is clear, sure you can write, but next time stay in your lane
What the academy bestows freely, it also reserves the right to reframe
As flavor of the month, play the game wisely or you may come up short
The funk song was a fiction: All the critics love you in New York

bearing gifts

Faint Praise, a playlist

A soundtrack for this cautionary tale. (spotify)

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

See previously: Flavor of the Month

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Writing log: April 28, 2021

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