WB Logan. Peasant, Piss Off.
I've always thought of Logan as a two-dimensional vaudevillian. The Glenn Beck of American poetry criticism. Who has spent a career specializing in the critical equivalent of cage-fighting.
What Patrick Kavanagh called in his poem Prelude, the 'unfruitful prayer' of satire.
Logan is a laughably transparent critical hypocrite. When reviewing the Dennis O’Driscoll Stepping Stones interviews, and Heaney generally, he deploys - with pejorative intent - the word 'cunning' a lot. Stating in his snotty 2009 New Criterion review of the Heaney DOD collaboration, written in lieu of an autobiography:
“The slyest moments here are his backhanded judgments on fellow poets”
…before indulging in the exact same literary Machiavellian practice himself:
“The richness of these interviews comes in part from the weakness of character inadvertently revealed. A poetry of warmth and humility has been drawn around a personality at times icy with conceit.”
The obvious statement to make about Logan’s style is that he has made a name for himself as an un-scholarly boot-boy and literary lout, applying the sneeriest of standards to others, when his own poetry is of far poorer quality than many of the people he trash-talks and trolls.
I suspect it is because of one of the four human Sorrows we learn from Amergin's untitled 120 line text in the Book of Ballymote. The longest by far of the four texts spread over 172 lines of 7C Old Irish, that the annals attribute to this founding poet of the contemporary Gaels. This provably authentic bardic voice first translated into English from 7C Old Irish, in 1978, by late (2011) Galwagian academic, P.L. Henry, as the subject of a specialist scholarly article in Studia Celtica #14/15, 1979/1980, pp. 114-128, 'The Cauldron of Poesy'
What of, he will never learn.
Henry Lloyd Moon, a regular poster on the guardian books blog, in a worshipful blog by John Sutherland blowing Martin Amis – could equally be referring to Logan’s overblown standing:
It’s like laughing along with the worldly but weedy class show-off.
Poet-manque Logan is clearly more of a bullying comedian than knowledgeable poetry / filíocht critic and scholar. A professional and outrageously readable troll whose glaring fault is, that, for all his smug condescending and comfortable tone of speaking voice he is essentially unfulfilled in the role of poet.
We can deduct this because Joyful praise, rarely, if ever, passes from his lips to the page. The simple humble human state of being in awe and wonder with the divine, is something which has totally bypassed this doggerelist of awful plodding ditties. This is the beginning of The Nude that Stays Nude, a recent (2013) prose-poem, in what is supposed to be an 'ironic' post-avant fictional literary voice that is just incredibly and - no doubt - unintentionally, comedically awfully dull:
'Don’t do what all the other little buggers are doing.
Don’t try to make the poem look pretty. You’re not decorating cupcakes, Cupcake.'
It is clear from a short trek round Logan's oeuvre that, after an earnest start writing sub-standard Yeatsean doggerel ('... singing, which is like shouting, / shouting into the deaf light.') failing to train or learn how to move into any higher gear than plodding ('The Monarch butterflies now copulate / in the kitchen') and pedestrian ('the sun lay on the horizon like a vegetable'), the odd flash of interesting language, followed by a predictably bland, boring, and wholly unexceptional earth-bound non-evolution of voice.
The falling into an unfruitful, if rewarding, bitter prayer of trashy well remunerated prose satire; turned Logan over the years into what he is now. A vicious middle-aged literary troll operating with only half the ingredients in the Filí/poet kit-bag.
The definition and etymological root of which is defined in 10C Cormac's Glossary as: 'Fi', 'poisinous/toxic satire'. With no 'Li', 'splendour in praise', to poetically counter-balance and make up rounded the two halves of a fully realized Fili poet-tongue.
Here’s a short few lines from our resident know-all whose mediocrity knows no bounds:
After the Blitz, her mother had begun an affair. So she said.
No one would have called her wellbred,
but she knew how to fill a low-cut dress,
had a fetching smile and a tongue for success.
…and on and on ad finitum, deploying all the plodding amateur rhyming skills and poetic intelligence he lambastes the targets of his critical misanthropy for displaying.
I read an extract from Our Savage Art recently, littered with allusions and references to figures from Greek myth, as Logan tried to strike a balance between being a bare-knuckle bore, and belaboring his points about the fine art of Criticism. Seemingly blind to the irony that the examples he sneered for our entertainment, about all the poetaster critics of yesteryear – are equally applicable to himself:
“Blackmur, who, though a brilliant critic, was a dreadful poet.”
…and quoting Coleridge:
'..a critic most hates those who excel in the particular department in which he, the critic, has notoriously been defeated..'
The problem with two-dimensional ditty makers that have little in the way of poetic talent themself, compensated for by exhibiting lots in the way of attitude, who fall safely into comfortable Ivy League jobs as the jolly pit-bull critics sneering at all and sundry – is that eventually they become spent and highly toxic grumps towards the end. And are finished off when a cleverer and younger wit enters the ring and knocks them spark out out with the first blow.
I have stated elsewhere that i am keen to debate, with or without gloves, with Logan, anywhere at all, but i do not think he has the courage to face me in print, because he knows which of us is the superior in both intellect and artistry.
WB Logan is a joker, a fake, a fraud, telling lies for a living. And no more a poet than i’m a tree that's a planet or a moon fully Spanish. And more, he’s a weedy armchair bully who’s gob dribbles for the Skating with Stars and KUWTK generations, of second rate ditty readers with the attention span of brainwashed losers.
William Logan. Critic manque, forgettable ditty maker.
I’ve said it before, but think it worth reiterating to draw attention to the fact that Logan really is wholly inconsequential as a Critic.
Not only in the cosmic scheme of Reality (as we all ultimately are) but in the here and now of the new gender-neutral 21C globally English language poetry.
His essentially anti-intellectual attacks and thrashings are knock-about entertainment for the lit-lite minded who like one-liners.
His art, is the art of a weedy frat-class show-off who boots with a broad brush, because his mind has not developed sufficiently enough to connect with the fundamental Truth of Poetry.
He is too lazy, has grown too static, too predictable, and far too cocky and comfortable in his tiny little poetry world-page, to be capable of escaping his dán/poetry, and, in its most authentic meaning, Fate; of being finished off here in the home of a Poetry Assassin.
Not getting past first-base male jealously, in which The man Critics' first instinct is to disagree, find fault, no matter what the quality of the writing, and then trash-talk to fook for the sole purpose of humiliating one's intellectual opponent.
Fancying himself a ditty-maker, it is an obvious and natural jealousy present in all artists of high intellectual stature. Which Logan is clearly not.
However, it is how we channel our envy that will decide if we end up like Logan, a person who assembles himself the facade of poetic expression; in a cloak of guff from fave poet X, the verbal tic of poet Y – and in mis-matched hand-me-down opinions, with an imitationally inspired instinct, choosing to say the first dismissive snarky thing he can think about a poem. Over a 20 year period, all the potential of poetically evolving himself as a balanced Filí/poet, was subsumed into becoming the hack-bag of borrowed stylistic twitches with nothing original getting said, that we all know and love.
Pointing out, no matter how slight, the inelegance in others, which makes up the most of himself. Even if the poetry is of 80% positive quality Logan will speak four parts satirical poison, and one part lukewarm disingenuous praise.
The same as seeing a painting by a very gifted artist which has a speck of dust on it, and instead of reporting the beauty in the image, concentrate on the minor flaw, and get a thousands words out of it, in his anal-head game of working out long convolutions of, frankly, laughably anti-intellectual posturing — posing as a sophisticated member from some esoteric guild holding abstruse arcane knowledge of Poetic Enlightenment, which is in fact – the exact opposite. Foetry entitlement.
Deluded people thinking they know better, more truthfully, what the story is on Filíocht / Poetry.
Worthless dumbed down dreck.
Envy needs to be chanelled into a game-with-self. If we read, see or hear a poet who sets off a green twitch, rather than childishly hating them because we believe them more gifted or better than us: we use this force to improve our own practice.
Focus into getting better than the one who sparked it off, and when we meet them again, perhaps we are a step closer.
Or we see them, and rather than being intimidated by their dazzling edifice, we focus our efforts into the act of developing our own potential, instead of a sneery jibe; resulting in us coming to understand the deeper poetic truths – because we tried harder and did not accept staying in our comfort zone.
We then start to see behind the god, and get to see the technician at work. What blinded us before and we thought sheer genius naturally flowing as though divine, we recognise for what it is – the hard work writers and intellectuals put into attaining their own potential, by the act and experience of writing the words down. Every day. A lot.
Then, slowly, we become respectful, and even if we hate them, because we put the slog in, our professional pride in doing the right thing, leads us to getting better and leaving them behind.
When we come to think, why did i ever think i wouldn't get better than the ones who i thought cleverer and more creative and better than i?
All along, we had it in us to beat them, by consistently surpassing our own goals, bars and literary standards. Raising the spiritual bar within and becoming closer to God within, as s/he is without – the seed inside and Segais Well, Logan, i am willing to bet a billion bucks, does not know.
Yet which is worth a trillion tweets from this Delphic Sibyl from Boston, Massachusetts?
When he gets a book of poems to hate, he is like an old and highly unintelligent red-neck who was once welcome socially for their caustic wit and coarse charm when a younger man, whose misanthropy was not at 100% toxicity. But now, after 25 years, in the absence of any America Poetry Critic who is any good, he has come to delude himself that his low-level mindless rants are not the product of a privileged boor, but of a prophetic post-modern thinker whose every word, every jock-like impulse to expose to us the Reader his shameful level of total ignorance on the art of dán and filíocht, poems and poetry. Believing deluded that each next hate-filled squib is another step leading him to Parnassus, rather than what it is in reality – his poetically negative and intellctually backward moves into eventual obscurity and a total loss of wit and all credibility as a critic.
Being one’s inferior, poetically speaking, both in live and printed poetry, along with Criticism – i can only sneer at how unintelligent this clown is.
Like a bully whose abuse over many years has led them to believe violence and love are the natural state of being, he got flabby and out of shape due to getting accorded a wholly artificial and false reputation and status by the ivy league WASP frat-boy silver spoons and their juvenile and childish world-view. Logan never went past first base, didn't even start as a focloc, because he is lazy intellectually and a spent force, now.
He only half-formed his poetic intelligence, in the pool of satire which grossly distended his print-persona into one which is deeply unpleasant and will be viewed in 20 years, in a clearer light, for what it is. A product of his time. All the prejudices and faults he is excused now because of the hawk-war mindset of the last few decades in which bullying under a guise of doing the world a favour, is the cloak concealing highly unpleasanter truths — will be the glaring defect that will cause his many and numerous misanthropic texts to become totally forgotten within a very short time. Because our children re-reading them will only experience a compound sense of shame and guilt that we were complicit in the manufacture of such shallow and unpoetic conduct.
His poetry, to be blunt, is rubbish, along with his Criticism. As comedic rant from a poet manque, it works, but not as poetically perspicacious pieces which lead the Reader to the light of something truly humanly warm and inclusive.
No, rather, his is the work of a one-sided has-been who never was.