On An Anonymous Reviewer – Catharine Savage Brosman

Catharine Savage

On an Anonymous Reviewer



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





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