BREAKING NEWS: MASS HYSTERIA AT POETRY READING


Lyn Hejinian: Was she in the crowd?

A lot of movie-goers are coming out of cinematic phenomenon Avatar, singing the praises of a new and unique experience in film, saying they were totally immersed in the world they were watching.

Another phenomenon is occurring as well.  Poets are beginning to create poems which allow readers to inhabit a world of sensuality and pleasure.  At a recent reading of this new kind of poetry, several audience members had to be carried out on stretchers.

One prominent LANGUAGE poet was alternately moaning and shouting at the top of her lungs: “Rhyme!  Oh God!  His poem rhymed!”

She had to be restrained from hurting herself by security officers, who had to step over several MFA students writhing upon the floor in what appeared to be Dionysian fits.

Leonard Tennyson, wearing leather pants, intoned:

…………..And ever when the moon was low,
…………..And the shrill winds were up and away,
…………..In the white curtain, to and fro,
…………..She saw the gusty shadows sway.
…………..But when the moon was very low,
…………..And wild winds bound within their cell,
…………..the shadow of the poplar fell
…………..Upon her bed, across her brow.
…………..She only said, ‘The night is dreary,
…………..He cometh not,’ she said;
…………..She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary,
…………..I would that I were dead!’

The crowd was moved to yelp and scream, especially the women, many of whom, being quite young, and students of LANGUAGE poetry, had never been immersed in this sort of poetry before.

Leonard Tennyson barely escaped with his life.   Shocked by the reception, in the escape-van he was overheard contemplating charging tickets for his poetry readings.  “How much do movie tickets for Avatar cost?”

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