10 February 2006

Best sedative on the shelf.

If you are looking for a potent sleep aid or non-narcotic painkiller, I strongly recommend A History of Modern Poetry: From the 1890s to the High Modernist Mode by David Perkins. Not only is this tincture an extremely helpful commentary on Modernism, but it will also cause users to drop into deep slumber within approximately twenty minutes of exposure.

Conveniently, the restful state will not be deterred by distracting extenuating factors such as noisy colleagues, stampeding cats, or uncomfortable couch pillows.

Patients using AHOMPFT1890sTTHMM should expect sore necks and other body parts upon waking. Dizziness and disorientation are common. Most patients should also expect extremely vivid, surreal dreams of the following varieties:

1. You are Ezra Pound.

2. Pangolin attacks group of intellectuals sitting en pleine air and discussing Cubism.

3. You are back in sixth grade. Nobody has told you that the Genteel Tradition is outmoded, so you arrive at school with a lobster on a leash and lugubrious, allusive, preadolescent verse in hand. You are summarily booed out of the junior high poetry slam, amidst cries of "No ideas but in things!" and "Make it new!" Upon exiting the school, you realize that you are not wearing pants.

4. Edwin Arlington Robinson's collected works are translated into an opera libretto, and you have to write the first review even though you've never seen the performance. You fake it, and it is the best thing you have ever written. Your reward is a Virginia ham.

5. You are Ezra Pound.

6. Pangolin terrorizes Cedar Point.

7. Kanye West releases new remix of hit single "Nothing Gold Can Stay," from the smash hit album Misreading Frost.

8. You are asked to plan a Women's History Month event. In lieu of delivering the plenary address, you engage in a rhythmic gymnastics interpretation of Gertrude Stein's "Patriarchal Poetry." (Dreamer wakes up in cold sweat before reaching the "dinky pinky" section of the poem)

9. Well-esteemed midwestern literary magazine revises guidelines so as to only accept poems titled "Portrait d'une Femme." You change the titles of all of your extant works--including juvenalia--and find that it is indeed the best title for everything you have written.

10. You are Ezra Pound.


Justin Evans said...

I came 'this close' to writing my senior history thesis on Ezra Pound. I even spoke with Sam Hamill, who knows more about Pound than almost anyone alive. I was on my way to doing several interviews with him when I found what I envisioned my paper to be in two chapters of a book I picked up for research. I got a note from Sam that read:

"So, your the guy who wants to climb Everest with only a daypack."

Upon finding what I wanted to do already in print, I changed to Anti-Chinese Immigration Legislation and sentiment in California, prior to Chinese Exclusion in 1882. I know, I know. I have always hada flair for titles.

But ah, Ezra. He has been a giant in my literary idea (excluding his crazy economics and anti-semitism) since I was about 19. I pissed off more than one officer while I was in the army for reading his work.

Julie said...

This has to be the most awesome thing I've read in a week. Mary, you are all that and a bag of Amy Lowell-flavored chips.

P. J. said...

I had that dream about EAR! Where's my ham, ma'am?

Penultimatina said...

PJ--I've got the whole class (almost) calling him EAR. In fact, some even used it on the quiz.

Your literary legacy spreads!

David said...

That's it...I'm not taking my lobster to any more readings.

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