The Unknown: The Orange Line.
  reader critique—scott rettberg—“that kind of couple”

I want to tell you what I think the political function of the draft I read is. You seem to be trying to empower poetry, to turn poetry into a force to be reckoned with, a symptom of an anarchist assault on social convention—“the odious banality of all things shrinkwrapped in the colorful plastic packaging of a false dream.” Poetry seems to be a way of speaking, mostly, and a fashion statement (which poets (and musicians) the characters like as an attempt to characterize them). It is empowered (not sure I trust that word) along a Hollywoodish axis of violent attitude, and heterosexual fast car splendor. Poetry gains its power by becoming something else. It loses its sensitivity. No longer a defense against the world or a reaction to it, it is an assault. Also implicated in the assault are vague references to “politically correct” (really don’t trust that word) concerns, such as (apparently) sexism and/or veganism (except isn’t yogurt a dairy product?), and a general dread of consumerism (which I think everybody feels—not just terrorist anarchists). The vaguely leftist concerns of the anarchists are defined more by what they are not—dairy queen pageant, the counter-counter-cultural maniac on p.8—than by any clear, intelligent vision worthy of poets. I’m afraid this story makes intellectuals look like sexy murderers who talk funny, at best, and defeats the social concerns it pretends to advance, including poetry.

The story? The murder wasn’t described in enough detail that I could become interested in who had done it and why, and I didn’t need to because I had seen many a car chase, including one in Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run where the people in the front seat were teaching their child to read while the police shot at them, I think. The Hollywood quality of the story filled in many gaps (the Hollywood quality already includes gaps anyway) and was effective in setting up expectations which were met and keeping me reading. I had trouble telling the characters apart despite the trouble you went to to describe them, and since three of them died simultaneously anyway, I’m not sure it mattered.

Characters having a relationship to poetry, especially a twisted one. The character of Papa Moon, whose hot dog stand I assume was evidence that he had sold out some value but I wasn’t sure. The fact that you had a story with other writing embedded in it. Your crisp, confident style, especially the opening voice-over-like couple of pages. Blowing up W...A...L...M...

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