Measured Extravagance

2000-11-01 - 11:59 p.m.

One of the funnier poems in The Best American Poetry 2000 is John Brehm's "The Sea of Faith," about attempting to teach Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach." (This is the third Good Thing that I know of to be inspired by that poem, Samuel Barber's song of the same name and Anthony Hecht's poem about "The Dover Bitch" being the two others. Perhaps, if I ever finish my current projects, I'll work on compiling a CD-ROM along the lines of Pachelbel's Greatest Hit...) The words of "Sea of Faith" are on-line at Fearless Mountain Review but I recommend seeking out a copy of the printed anthology at the bookstore for the actual poem - I found it funnier with line breaks. (Why? Line breaks build in pacing. Pacing is key to comedy. Ask any clown...)

Brehm has appeared in Poetry several times as well, and the one featured in their online archives is as entertaining as "Sea of Faith," particularly if you've ever had the misfortune to sit through a dull poetry reading.

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