I know a critic — tedious man —
Who'll tell you everything he can.
He knows of course "why Henry Moores
Are always full of apertures"*,
Why Beckett's novels are absurd
And Feldman's music seldom heard.
He speaks of Twyla, Pina, Merce,
Of music bad as Berg's, or worse.
He knows about the Isle of Man,
The Fall of Angels, and he can
Recite poems by Gertrude Stein,
Enough to make a poodle whine.
Why Rauschenberg paints with stuffed goats,
And women read Joyce Carol Oates,
Why Jasper Johns's flags and cans
Draw much applause but never bans.
He'll tell you all these things, and then
He'll tell you all these things again;
Now if you want to make him stop
Don't bother looking for a cop:
Just smile sweetly, and nod your head,
And murmur, Gee, you're sure well-read;
I once read The New Yorker too,
It almost made me talk like you.
I bored my friends, sent them away —
And now I'm going, too. Good day.
*I think I read this couplet once,
But don't know where. I'm such a dunce.