Monthly Archives: June 2014

Guess Which Prize-Winning, Established Poet Sent This Sestina to McSweeney’s, circa 2003!

Sestina to the Editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Vice Versa

Your lamentable policy of publishing no poems but sestinas
insults your readers even as it patronizes contemporary American poetry.
To avoid depicting McSweeney’ss as a snake-nest of crypto-fascists
and avert the use of foul or unflattering language
on my part, I have taken the unusual and perhaps sadly uncool
decision to donate to the editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

the remainder of this poem, to grant the editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
a chance to speak in their own defense. “Yo, what’s wrong with sestinas!
We think sestinas are totally, totally cool!
In Brooklyn and the Mission sestinas are easily the coolest form of poetry
out there today. Especially we love the way the language
cascades obsessively from stanza to stanza, a kind of crypto-Ashberian

waterfall of language, actually, or hey, crypto-formalists
can wing it too, we can handle that, the editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
dig that Elizabeth Bishop thing, dog. L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E
Poetry, now that’s another kettle of polliwogs— not that sestinas
could ever be considered as Language Poetry,
could they? Or, would that maybe be wildly inventive and cool?

Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool.
It might look like that on the page, kind of crypto-Dadaist,
but should it be punctuated? Is there some kind of Language Poetry
Manual of Style the editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
might employ to ensure these killer new language poetry sestinas
are abiding by the rules? Whatever. I mean, language

is not bound by laws, right, there is no legal language
language itself cannot delegitimize? Which is, like, beyond cool.
What really matters is form, that funky, prismatic, six-fold way sestinas
have of origamying into shape on the page, their crypto-Buddhist
vibe. We flat-out love form. The editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
have created a very hip magazine, even if it is virtual, and poetry

is part of that, and frankly you should be thankful we publish any poetry
because, mostly, the stuff sucks. Dude, what’s it all about, language?
Doh! Like, hello, what isn’t? The editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
know what’s cool— we are, basically, the arbiters of cool—
and we really don’t need a bunch of wonkified, cry-baby crypto-elitists
preaching to us about the perceived demerits or what-all of sestinas.”

The Editors of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency regret that your poetry
is not cool enough for them at this time. They felt the language
fell flat, unfortunately. Next time try a crypto-sestina.



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