I send out thanks to Daniel Schwartz, who has pointed out two errors on a web page that I've had up for years - the text of Gertrude Stein's "Reflection on the Atom Bomb." The corrected version is here.
"They may be a little scared, I am not so scared, there is so much to be scared of so what is the use of bothering to be scared, and if you are not scared the atomic bomb is not interesting."
I stand corrected. Earlier I snarkily noted that Stevens's "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" gets a disproportionate load of parodying, and wondered why other Great Mods didn't. The author of In My Mind I'm Going posts her own snarky riposte: what about WCW's "Red Wheelbarrow"? Of course. I suppose any modernist poem that can be taken as a ditty will get parodied. Yet, still, there's something about "13 Ways": trying one's hand at the perspectival variations. A guy who admits he's something of a drinker tries his hand, and the URL has the word "everypoet" in it (as in "everyone is..."):
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Keg
Among twenty restless students,
The only stoic thing
Was the base of the keg.
I was of three thirsts,
Like a cellar
In which there are three kegs...
Here's a parody of Pound:
Salutation to a Previous Generation
O Generation of the entirely snug
and entirely impenetrable,
I have seen poets versifying in the dark,
I have seen them with uneven lines,
I have seen their volumes full of gibberish
and heard unlikely theories.
And you are smarter than they were,
And I am smarter than you are;
And Hopkins lives in the anthologies
and cannot even write criticism.
And here of Williams:
Homeland Security Advisory System
a red seal
phrases of high
on the blue
General Advice to Miscreants
Split the hair - when you face the music -
Blow after blow - will roll aside -
Violence dealt to the batted belfry
Spent on your hair and not your hide.
Loose the flood - like a snake oil seller -
Gush after gush, and swear it's true -
Cro-Magnon creditors! Credulous cretins!
You'll escape yet from the peer review.
The three just above (Pound, WCW, Dickinson) are the work of Jay Scott, who writes (among other things) The Daily Whale, satires for every leaf of the calendar.
For Godot, subtitled "research in poetry," seems to announce "Issue 1," dated Fall 2008. If you go to their blog site you'll see that the "announcement" includes a list of authors in the hundreds. And there's a link to the issue's contents, a mere 3,785 pages of poems. So far as I know an email announcement was not sent around, so how do any of us find out about this For Godot? Well, poetry people seem to be a self-conscious, self-promoting bunch. Many have set up "Google Alerts" which by email daily report instances of, e.g., one's own name as it appears somewhere on the 'net.
Evan J. Peterson, whose blog is "Poemocracy", fell for For Godot's "culture jamming" when he saw a Google Alert for his name, followed it to its source and found himself among the many pages of the "issue." The same thing happened to me and presumably many others.For Godot, Peterson wrote, "is an obviously effective publicity stunt that lured some high-profile (unlike myself) self-interested (much like myself) people to the site."
At another blog, a commentator named Rob wrote: "It is a joke, surely! Some kind of social comment on the meaningless of .pdf e-publication? Something like that…" And Barbara added: "Maybe it is an arm of the International Library of Poetry and they will be sending all those writers a request for $39.95 so their winning poem can be entered in the 'contest.'"
Skip Fox wrote: "Andy Kaufman as muse?" And Nick Piombino: "There has been talk of a poetry bailout. Is this it?"
The creators of this instance of mock radical inclusivity are Vladimir Zykov, Steve McLaughlin, and Jim Carpenter.
There are numerous instances of this sense. Here's one. Tom Hayden, in a draft of the document that became The Port Huron Statement, tenets for the founding of SDS and more generally of the political side of 1960s student-led counterculture:
"The house of theory [is] not a monastery. I am proposing that the world is not too complex, our knowledge not too limited, our time not so short, as to prevent the orderly building of a house of theory, or at least its foundation, right out in public, in the middle of the neighborhood."
There are many ways to see this. I like to conceive of it as a pedagogy.
After all, the document was written by students. Weren't they thinking about the way they had been and were being taught? They wanted something different. Mainly two things different: 1) not so pragmatic, contingent; 2) not cloistered, but out there.
I suppose I'm a bit stuck on Stevens this time of year--seeing him everywhere. Because it's the season of his birthday? (The day itself was yesterday, October 2.) The author of In My Mind I'm Going is (you guessed it) in North Carolina, where she's a "professor" (otherwise unidentified) and blogs about once per week on cooking and writing. The latest of these is "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Squid" and it begins this way:
Among snowy cephalopods
The only moving thing
Was the blade of my cleaver.
And here's the 12th:
The water is moving.
The kraken must be swimming.
There's an awful lot of bad Stevens out there. Do we do this to Pound or Williams or Stein? Well, yes--I think--Stein.
By the way, about section one ("Among twenty snowy mountains, / The only moving thing / Was the eye of the blackbird.") a fellow who goes by "Pseudo Intellectual" at the "everything2" site writes: "This is very likely a verse about necrophilia." Okay, I think I prefer the squidified version.