Friday, March 15, 2019

Ron Padgett on comparisons

Re: “the greatest photo in jazz”: here is the poet Ron Padgett commenting on greatness and comparisons. From an interview with Edward Foster, Talisman 7 (Fall 1991):

I think a book like The Sonnets by Ted Berrigan is still really an extraordinary book. Is it better than Lunch Poems? I think that kind of comparison is unproductive and invidious. Tennis commentators are always asking, Do you think Ivan Lendl could have beaten Bill Tilden? Is Homer greater than Dante? What kind of question is that?
Related reading
All OCA Ron Padgett posts (Pinboard)

[Lunch Poems: by Frank O’Hara.]

comments: 4

Geo-B said...

I think someone saying pretentiously that so-and-so is the greatest anything is a waste of time, but arguing the greatest is a great way of lining up your arguments and voicing your criteria. So, kids will always be arguing who might win, in a fight between Superman and Batman. I think Blake's "The Tyger" is the best poem because it's simple and profound and has that quirky spelling in the title. I think the best food is tacos, because they're soft and crisp, sweet and spicy, warm and cold.

Michael Leddy said...

Exactly, a way of working out what you value in art. I sometimes asked students to write a short essay: The world’s last library is on fire. Which would you save, the Iliad, or the Odyssey, and why?

I think William Blake is better than tacos, except, maybe, for tacos al pastor. And I just remembered: there’s an Allen GInsberg/Kenneth Koch spontaneous collaboration about a battle between William Blake and Popeye, topic courtesy of Ron Padgett.

Geo-B said...

How completely random and fortuitous and creative and hilarious.

Michael Leddy said...

It was an evening’s worth of Ginsberg and Koch, but only this clip is online. It’s all in a little book called Making It Up.