On an Anonymous Reviewer
CATHARINE SAVAGE BROSMAN
A man? A woman? Quite close-lipped,
at least, invited to assess
a scholar’s lengthy manuscript.
It was shot down, without finesse.
“The work, I see, does not succeed
except most literally; such
will not suffice now. As I read
its flaws grow evident. Too much
historical concern – the worms
of time; too little theory, too;
clear prejudice revealed by terms.”
(The context does not count; what’s true
depends on dogma, and we must
rewrite the past as it should be.)
“Insensitive in tone, unjust;
two small mistakes in chapter three.”
In retrospect, it was naive
to think postmoderns might be fair;
they obviously can’t conceive
how they are blindly doctrinaire.
The wheels of fortune surely turn;
your book may be the next to burn.
CATHARINE SAVAGE BROSMAN is the poetry editor of Chronicles.
An interview with her may be read here