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Let's talk about Gimmick!

Not sure about TV on the Radio.

Some songs were quite interesting. My friends were not impressed.

One friend said, "Fishbone meets Grateful Dead."

Another said, "a new and improved punkier version of Hootie and the Blowfish.

A third good friend said, "Gimmick. All gimmick."

The gimmick comment stuck.

What distinguishes a gimmick? Innovation as gimmick versus innovation as honest?


1. a piece of trickery or manipulation intended to achieve a result dishonestly
2. a piece of concealed information that, if known, would make an offer or opportunity less attractive
3. something such as a new technique or device that attracts attention or publicity
4. an ingenious device, mechanism, or ploy, especially one that works in a concealed way

My students would say if it's deep, it's not a gimmick.

A gimmick is all surface? Surface of "smart" with nothing underneath?

The period style is not a gimmick. Repeat, the period style is not a gimmick.

Everytime I think I am moving ahead of the curve I realize I'm two years behind. Or the curve is two years behind and the great ones have caught up to the present age.

I love Chicago Review. Just ordered a subscription. A great review of Randolph Healy's work. Nothing like Heaney. A great essay by Michael Palmer on poetry and contingency. Now there's two great poets. Healy and Palmer makes me feel and think all at the same time.

My head comes right off.

I am tired of smart for smart's sake.

How about some emotional and intellectual honesty.


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Another Ireland: Part Two
Maurice Scully, The Basic Colours. Durham, UK: Pig Press, 1994.
Geoffrey Squires, Landscapes and Silences. Dublin: New Writers' Press, 1996.
Catherine Walsh, Idir Eatortha and Making Tents. London: Invisible Books, 1996.

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I began the first half of this article (Notre Dame Review #4) by mentioning some of the limits to the legendary hospitality Ireland has shown to its poets. If you arrive in Ireland from any point of departure outside of Eastern Europe, you will indeed find a public far more willing than the one you left behind to grant poets the recognition all but the most ascetic secretly crave. However, this hospitality has never extended to Irish poets w…