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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Acrostic Epigrams: The Cause of, and Solution to, the Death of Political Verse

Regular readers of the blog (hi, Mom!) know that we are in the midst of a longstanding campaign to resurrect dead forms of puffery and invective. Commendatory verse will set blurbs free, we believe, and you'll agree, if you read that last post and its comments.

We also believe that commendatory verse's angry twin, the satirical epigram, is due for a comeback. As far as I can tell, there is approximately one (1) working, regularly published poet of ad hominem political attacks: that bard of the blue state anapest, Calvin Trillin. I guess there are some slam poets and politically engaged mcs who would also qualify, and perhaps Mother Goose has an in-house poetess who spends her days thinking up amusing rhymes for "Eagleburger"?, but let's just say for the sake of this post that Trillin is the last practioner of the metrical smack-down. And he's not even that funny.

You know who was funny? People in the seventeenth century. I've begun teaching my early modern women's writing course, and the first poem we read together was this one, by Rachel Speght.



Ha cha cha! Take that Swetnam! You have a filthie pen! And now everybody knows it! Seriously, there is no better way to start off a class on em women's writing than with an acrostic poem that tears a misogynist polemicist a new one. Of course, the rest of A Mouzel looks pretty conciliatory compared to this bit (Marriage is a merry-age... UNLESS SATHAN CREEPS INTO YOUR FILTHIE PEN!!), but you really get a sense for how a verse form that we usually associate with construction paper and magic markers can actually be used as a lead-tipped cultural whip.

You see, no doubt, where all this is leading…

D estroy all formes of life, thou demon spawne!
I nterr trew logick's spirit under lawne.
C ut down the honest critick in blind rage;
K eep bloodie doves imprison’d in a cage.

Ok. Someone else has to do the last name. I expect melodramatic bird imagery to be maintained as the primary vehicle. Extra points for fake Englisshinge of oure moderne tonge. Let's bring back the biting epigram! Together, people, we can do it.

  • At 2/04/2007 01:30:00 AM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    What about Gwen Harwood's famous sonnet acrostic, "Fuck all editors"?

     

  • At 2/06/2007 07:04:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    I've been thinking about this, though at the moment I haven't gotten any farther than:

    Cringing subordinates and flattery
    Have separated you from reality.

    Not earlie moderne, I realize.

    Btw, don't we owe the formulation "cause of, and solution to" to Homer Simpson? As in, "alcohol, the cause of -- and solution to -- all of life's problems."

     

  • At 2/06/2007 10:03:00 PM, Blogger Truewit wrote…

    yes, I shamelessly ripped off Homer. I was glad to be able to put the structure to use, actually. Been trying to think of a good spot for it for a while. It's kind of hard to think of things that are both the cause of and the solution to other things...

     

  • At 2/07/2007 07:32:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    "Eating children, except your gay daughter;
    Not Mary, go send the rest to slaughter."

    As inspired by that George Washington song ("He'll save the children, but not the British children": "He'll eat the children, but not his own gay children").

     

  • At 2/07/2007 08:50:00 AM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    I love that song.

    Washington, Washing-ton,
    Six foot twenty fucking killing for fun.

    Remember: He'll kick you apart, he'll kick you apart, he'll kick you apart.

     

  • At 2/07/2007 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Truewit wrote…

    excellent. We're an E and a Y away from completion...

     

  • At 2/07/2007 04:16:00 PM, Blogger Bardiac wrote…

    Every friend's afraid to hunt for birds near

    You; and loyal cronies know jail is near.

    (and now we know why I read and don't actually really try much to write poetry!)

     

  • At 2/07/2007 04:17:00 PM, Blogger Bardiac wrote…

    Bah, that's even worse than I thought... I was trying to rhyme better.

    How about making the second line

    You; and loyal cronies know jail to fear!

    That's at least a little better.

     

  • At 2/07/2007 04:36:00 PM, Blogger Truewit wrote…

    You're in, Bardiac! Thanks for your couplet, adding some needed enjambment to our rhyme.

     

  • At 2/07/2007 06:32:00 PM, Blogger Bardiac wrote…

    I love enjambment!

    Thanks for including me!

     

  • At 2/11/2007 04:55:00 PM, Blogger Eric wrote…

    Choosing the right perfume can be difficult and because it is also considered an intimate gift buying the wrong perfume can backfire on you and get you the opposite result of that which you hoped for.

    The first thing you need to do is do some homework, meaning research. Look at your lady's perfume bottles, the ones that are nearly empty will be her favorites. If there is one there that is nearly full chances are she doesn't wear it often or doesn't like it. Hint around and ask her what types of fragrances she likes and dislikes.

    Humans are very sensory oriented and our sense of smell is no different. Certain perfumes can elicit strong reactions in both the wearer and the person reacting to the scent. Perfumes are made not only to attract but to also relax someone. If you aren't totally sure what kind of perfume to buy you can always play it safe and get something in the aromatherapy line. If you go this route, bear in mind that vanilla scents are considered to relax and a peppermint or lemon scent will be more stimulating.

     

  • At 2/11/2007 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Truewit wrote…

    dude, totally!

    I guess the world has discovered a way to spam blogger.com.

     

  • At 2/11/2007 05:31:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Wow, how did a robot learn to defeat the captcha?

     


 Scribble some marginalia



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