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Beauty or mayhem

Poetry Sophie's Choice for Lawrence Giffin

Lawrence Giffin

Lawrence Giffin has done and said some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen or heard in poetry. His readings always feel to me like they walk along a fine line between uproarious and deeply critical. I can’t say exactly what they are critical of, because I can never quite tell. Is he making fun of poetry? himself for writing it? And this hilarious criticality comes in the package of always impressive, sometimes tour-de-force writing. There is clearly love for the art in his work  — he works hard and that is a kind of love  — but there also always seems to me a chasm of critical distance between Giffin and whatever he’s saying. And that chasm is often where the uproarious happens.

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