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Musing on Literary Renown

"A brief poetic musing on the vagaries of literary renown"
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Prologue

Recently several large and grand literary prizes have been in the news: the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Man Booker Prize, the Giller prize, and on a more modest level, the Not the Booker Prize, sponsored on the web site of the English newspaper, The Guardian.

In the time leading up to the announcements of the laureates for those prizes, great and small, I read and heard a fair amount about the short-listed authors and books. In each instance, prediction and speculation as to the likely outcome were rife. There were heated discussions about literary forms and styles, post-modernism, readability, plot and structure and whether or not a journalist could legitimately be considered a novelist. I found myself caught up in the pre-announcement turmoil for each one, which bemused me greatly, as did the post-awards commentaries on the choices made. In one instance, that of the Man Booker Prize, a great deal of discussion also took place concerning the judging panel of last year’s prize and how it created a scandal in British literary circles. It must have been quite a scandal, since a year later it was still being discussed.


The following is a poetic musing more than anything else, based on my reflections concerning the events referred to above.


Untitled Poem

Jewels, prizes,
Glittering stars and
Shining lights

All converge to remind me
Of the elusive fate
I have avoided,
unwittingly perhaps,
as heated voices discuss,
debate,
dispute

The acclamation,
commendations
congratulations even,
Issued by judges
And critics alike

Those voices,
unknown and unknowing,
Pontificate on what is
Right or wrong
literarily speaking,
no less,
But...

I am left wondering -
their edicts are
based upon what?

The question leaves me uneasy,
And somewhat concerned
About my own work

Discrete, reserved
Left to linger in shady groves or
Sunny lanes,
My poetic impulses
remain the same
As they were,
Perhaps inane
but mine, and as such
dear and worthy of concern...

At least to me

And so they shall remain
Mine to share as I see fit
And expect no acclaim.

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