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I don't say this often, but I've found a neat poem (courtesy of Amanda). There's generally something I just don't get about poetry. Maybe it's how essentialised the thoughts become when you turn them into a short poem. Stephen R. Donaldson said something in his introduction to Daughter of Regals about how novel writing is like throwing words at your subject and hoping some stuck, whereas in short story writing you have to pick your words carefully and stick them on your subject -- in the pocket, or tucked behind the ears. I think this can be extended farther to poetry. My brain is just not subtle enough to see how the words are placed around the subject, like a connect-the-dots with too few dots. I guess that's why I like "Jabberwocky" so much -- because it's all about the sound of it, not the content.

"Marginalia" worked for me, though. Maybe it's because the verse was so free that I read it like a short bit of prose that was broken up by repeated e-mail forwarding (though mercifully sans greater-than signs/closing angle brackets/carrots). So I could take it as prose (doubtless missing a lot of subtlety, but grasping the thrust of it). This would be a good place to launch into a tangent about how reading things off the computer screen affects the reading experience, and the making of marginalia in particular. Or I could talk about my own experiences with marginalia -- buying my books early so I could get the least underlined ones, or drawing a cartoon at the end of Genealogy of Morality of a guy saying "I'm Friedrich 'the colossal ignoramus' Nietzsche, and I hope you liked my crappy book!" But unfortunately I have school work to finish.

Oh, and I have to endorse anything that refers to Swift's "A Modest Proposal."


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