by Kevin Allman
Gov. Bobby Jindal has named Julie Kane to be Louisiana's next poet laureate beginning later this month. Kane, a Boston native and longtime New Orleans resident, is now an English professor at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, and she's won many national poetry awards. She's also following the formidable Darrell Bourque and Brenda Marie Osbey; those are high bars to meet.
Judging from her website and her work on line, she's more than capable:
As if a friend you used to see a lot
but haven't, lately, stops you on the street,
and right away you note the baseball cap,
the skeleton that has begun to peek
through facial features, and you hear about
the son or daughter in from out of town,
the chemo up in Shreveport twice a week,
how hard it is to keep a milkshake down,
The City Care Forgot (and then recalled)
comes into focus from your moving car,
familiar houses with their doors kicked in
and death tolls sprayed beneath blue FEMA tarps,
and though the specialists must have their say,
you see yourself it could go either way.
And this is pretty wonderful too:
If I could sing, I wouldn’t write this shit
for intellectuals who read too much:
I’d be a diva, you can bet on it,
adored by teenybopper fans with zits,
adorning magazines from Elle to Us.
If I could sing, I wouldn’t write this shit.
Oh, Justin Timberlake would bare my tit
on MTV in an attack of lust.
I'd be a diva, you can bet on it.
I might OD, but I would never slit
my wrists or turn the gas up, more robust
than pallid poets churning out this shit.
The moving finger writes and, having writ,
shoots bards a middle digit pointing up
while divas count the moola from their hits.
Ask Whitney, Britney, jitneys full of Brits
from sixties pop invasions—writing sucks!
Ask Janis Joplin's ghost or Stevie Nicks.
They’d all stay divas, you can bet on it.
Kane will be Louisiana's 11th poet laureate. The position was created in 1942 by then-Gov. Sam H. Jones.