Initials B.B. - Page 2

Bill Berkson's Sudden Address bridges poetry, painting, and passionate love

It also takes issue with former fellow "poet who also writes about art" Peter Schjeldahl's gradual abandonment of poetry.

Sudden Address's cool enthusiasm sometimes gives way to a passion even more at odds with what Berkson deems "the glacial moraine" of postmodernism. Composed in memory of Berkson's feelings for O'Hara's poem "In Memory of My Feelings," the 2006 piece "Frank O'Hara at 30" overcomes the assumed importance and first-name logrolling of many New York school–style remembrances. It exemplifies Berkson's ability to make one style of criticism function as a rich libretto surrounding the aria that is a particular poem or painting. Virgil Thomson attested that when faced with a choice between work, friendship, and passionate love, finding two out of three ain't bad. But Berkson wants to have all three. At its best, Sudden Address embodies that possibility.

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