This article goes into the big question when it comes to J.R.R. Tolkien: was he any good as a writer? The article says… maybe. It’s all a bit wishy washy. And I object strenuously to the negative criticism of his poetry, which I loved when my mother sang to me while reading The Hobbit out loud to a seven year old me. I think that there is also an argument to be made for a little pomo gamesmanship in his writing, if you look at it as having been written in an imaginary language (based on Anglo-Saxon and pre-English languages from the British Isles) and then translated into English. Rather as if someone wrote an epic novel in Klingon and then translated it into English. And, in case you hadn’t figured it out yet – I’m a fan of Tolkien.
I’m glad that some newspapers are still covering poetry. Even if it is on the other side of the country (Dear WaPo, would it kill you to write more about literature and poetry ’round here? ‘Cause there’s a lot of it, most of it having nothing to do with poorly researched, pseudo-timely musings on the politics of six months ago).