the verse of Sherod Santos makes Logan want to put his hand into the whirring blade of a lawn mower


“Our Savage Art,” the latest installment in William Logan’s prolonged and rumbustious assault on the state of American poetry, comes furnished with no fewer than nine epigraphs in which the phrase “savage art” appears. One of these is taken from the second chapter of James Fenimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans”: an unsuspecting party of white travelers, including a pair of sisters, is passing through a gloomy forest unaware that they are being secretly observed by “a human visage, as fiercely wild as savage art and unbridled passions could make it.” “A gleam of exultation,” Cooper continues, “shot across the darkly painted lineaments of the inhabitant of the forest, as he traced the route of his intended victims, who rode unconsciously onward.” One can’t help imagining Logan ripping open a freshly arrived Jiffy-Bag of review copies of slim volumes with a similar kind of exultant gleam shooting across his lineaments; and certainly many a poet over the last few decades must have felt a bit like one of Cooper’s hapless heroines, tied to the stake, war whoops in the ears, a blurred, scalp-hungry tomahawk glinting in the sun, as they absorbed the bad news about their latest collection in one of the hilariously damning New Criterion verse chronicles in which the savage critic biannually vents his spleen.

more from the NY Times here.