March 11, 2003
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Poetry?

For some reason, a few English Lit professors write forum posts and such as if they were poetry. Now, the Electronic Book Review affects the same style for their email ads.

o, we, ath the electronic book review
www.electronicbookreview.com

have worked soooooooo hard
in the last couple of years

(re-engineering periodical publishing)

to be able to walk in to your mailbox
and say, with casual exuberance "This just in . . ."

What do the line breaks and stanza gaps tell us? That this is poetry? Is doesn't rhyme or scan. There's no rhythm I can see. The punctuation is eccentric: the parentheses are debatable, the comma introducing the quotation (and closing the parenthetical phrase) is simply missing. What's the point of "casual exuberance"? What are they saying, here, anyway: that they've spent two years of hard work to be able to email this advertisement to you? It might be true, but why tell me?

Later, we're told to await

A bouquet of essays on New Media Studies
culled by Scott Rettberg
(due in next week)

This is almost a double dactyl (Higgeldy Piggeldy/ Jacqueline Kennedy / Tossed a photographer/ Over her head/), and I'm a big fan of dactyls, but it doesn't quite make it. The literal sense suggests that Scott has gone out to the garden and chosen the weakest, wilting flowers of New Media Studies to bring inside for the dining room vase, which surely is not the point.

Surely there's some important allusion or lovely hidden pattern of wordplay in these poems that I'm missing? Give me a hint, someone.