Amy Ryan
August 28, 2007 AT 07:41 PM EDT

This is a potentially earth-shaking development, which, of course, is why it was buried in the Arts section of yesterday’s New York Times: the marriage of pop-disposability and highbrow literature effected by MTV and 80-year-old poet John Ashbery (pictured). Right now, MTV’s aim is the laudable goal of getting college students to like poetry (or at least, verse that doesn’t strive to find rhymes for “bitch”), but you just know that the exchange is going to flow in both directions, creating seismic ripples in both worlds whose impact we can only begin to contemplate. Does this mean poets will strive to write shorter poems so that MTV will pick up their sound-bite-ready verse? Will Lil’ Wayne finally get the canonical treatment he deserves from Yale’s English Lit department? What will the wet T-shirt contests look like when they have spring break at Yaddo? Will the drunken denizens of The Real World sound smarter when they utter their boozy confessions in iambic pentameter? Will poets like Donald Hall and Charles Simic start beefing and writing dis verses slamming each other just to get attention? Will the Iowa Writers’ Workshop host a show called Pimp My Sonnet? Will Ashbery stop writing altogether because he can’t get that damned “Umbrella” song out of his head? And what ever happened to Max Blagg?

addCredit(“John Ashbery: Mikki Ansin/Getty Images”)

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