5 / 29 / 95

	The Raving

	Once upon a schoolday dreary one plus one
	was written clearly "what's the answer to
	this query?"
		quoth the student, "I don't know"

	Ah, distinctly I remember it was science in
	September when the teacher said "Remember?"
		quoth the student, "I don't know"

	And the weary, sad, uncertain social students
	listened while the teacher lectured like a preacher
	"Name a demographic feature"
		quoth the student, "I don't know"

	And in English never flitting always sitting
	as she teaches she asked the correct 
	position of the words in a composition
		quoth the student, "I don't know"
                	                           -a student

                    THE ANTI-HEGEMONY PROJECT
          A satire, pointedly such, at the present day, and
especially by American writers, is a welcome novelty, indeed.  We
have really done very little in the line upon this side of the
Atlantic--nothing, certainly, of importance--Kenneth Koch's
clumsy poems and Mark Twain's after-dinner sketches to the
contrary notwithstanding.  Some things we have produced, to be
sure, which were excellent in the way of burlesque, without
intending a syllable that was not utterly solemn and serious. 
Poems, plays, fictions, essays, epigrams, and pop songs,
possessed of this unintentional excellence, we would have no
difficulty in designating by the dozen; but, in the matter of
directly-meant and genuine satire, especially in or concerning
verse, it cannot be denied that we are sadly deficient.  And yet,
let it be said, while we are not, as a literary people, exactly
equal to "The Dunciad"--while we have no pretensions to echoing a
Popish meter--in short, while we are no satirists ourselves,
there can be no question that we answer sufficiently well as
_subjects_ for satire.
          We repeat that we were glad to see this work of Mr.
Funkhouser and company abroad on the Internet; first, because it
was something new under the sun; secondly, because, in many
respects, it was well executed; and, thirdly, because, in the
universal corruption and rigmarole amid which we gasp for breath,
it was really a pleasant thing to get even one accidental whiff
of the unadulterated air of _truth_.
          For those unfamiliar with the AHP, a brief history is
sufficient to give the satire's overall dimensions.  In February
of 1995, a series of news briefs, modeled in style and format on
those of the "clari.* news hierarchy," began to appear on Charles
Bernstein's "Poetics List," which originates out of SUNY Buffalo. 
The contents of these items invariably reflected current goings-
on on the Poetics List, and in the "poetry world" more generally. 
Many of these flashes were surreal, but some had an almost
prosaic verisimilitude.  In one, the loquacious Tom Mandel became
a bounty hunter; in another; Ken Sherwood and Loss Glazier were
called "Poetics Police"; in another, Language Poetry was blamed
on tainted baby formula; in another, a "Save the NEA" effort was
termed a cross-dressing fashion show.  All of these interventions
were identified as products of the "bleari.* nooz hierarchy," and
further attributed to "The Anti-Hegemony Project."  With
surprisingly little distortion, the various jargons of politics,
fashion, crime, sports, and economics were used to explain the
ideological workings of the Art of the Muse--and quite
adequately.  The point, as soon became clear, was simple:  to
show that poetry's sublime particularity is no such thing.
          More remarkable than the AHP itself, however, was the
utter silence which greeted these stories' sudden broadcast. 
Indeed, until an item appeared transforming Barrett Watten into a
killer whale--adapted from an item on the film "Free Willy"--
there was no public comment of _any_ sort.  And even in this
instance, in the chivalrous outcry of James Sherry, response was
focused on the matter of authorship, the AHP's mysterious
provenance having become a focal point for counter-critique.  We
say authorship and not source, for while the stories _had_ been
posted from real accounts, the stories themselves were unsigned,
and rumor began to circulate _privately_ that the true author--if
such there was--was keeping himself (or herself) hid.  Chris
Funkhouser, from whose account many of the stories had been sent,
quickly came forward to make a public statement, to the effect
that "AHP" was a cooperative project.  And soon enough,
discussion died down again--or appeared to.  Inevitably, however,
the rumors themselves became subjects for AHP satire.  In one, a
tapeworm named "Benji" was said to have burrowed deeply into
Charles Bernstein's personal computer; in another, attributed to
CNN (the Co-Poetry News Network), AHP activity was blamed on a
sentient robot gone mad on too much literature.
          For the record, the AHP's interventions originated from
the following persons' accounts, at the following institutions: 
Carla Billitteri, Nick Lawrence, and Martin Spinelli (SUNY
Buffalo), Don Byrd, Christopher Funkhouser, and Belle Gironda
(SUNY Albany), Sandy Baldwin (NYU), Stephen Cope (U.C. Santa
Cruz), Greg Keith (unaffiliated), Nada (unaffiliated).  A few
other accounts were also utilized, but as of yet we are unable to
identify the owners.
          But this was not the end.  In a final hurrah, the AHP,
after 12 days of relative silence, produced _en masse_ a blitz of
items of a different sort altogether.  These appeared on the last
day of Feb. and first of March, 1995.  No longer taking the form
of fake news items, these final messages were modeled on the
adolescent chit-chat of the Internet's many Newsgroups--the
'Net's discourse of choice.  Presented as postings to an
imaginary group called "alt.fan.silliman" (the model, we believe,
was alt.fan.madonna), this later set of AHP posts again used real
names, and again satirized the goings-on on Poetics and in the
poetry world.  But where the "bleari" stories had adopted a sober
language, and had appeared at discreet intervals, the
"alt.fan.silliman" items flirted with incomprehensibility, and
were so voluminous as to overwhelm altogether the Poetics List's
normal flow of activity.  (In a mere two days, there were 24
"alt.fan" messages.  By contrast, across a period of 25 days,
about 30 "bleari" messages had been generated.)  This last
onslaught, unlike the prior intervention, met with immediate
outcry--an outcry that took two basic forms.  _First_, it was
said that the sheer volume transformed the AHP's satire into a
theft of the airwaves; _second_, that the focus on Ron Silliman
amounted to a smear campaign.  In response, the AHP's defenders
pointed out that the satires were in many ways a _tribute_ to Mr.
Silliman.  (The aggrieved poet himself weighed in with a bemused
admission that he _was_, all in all, tickled by the attention--
indeed, he responded to many of the "alt.fan" posts as if they
had really been the outpourings of fandom.)  The second critique
--that the volume was inherently prohibitive of a fair exchange of
ideas--was never directly countered, but in retrospect this point
too seems debatable.  To be sure, the swelling of traffic due to
AHP intervention was sizable, but such swelling is itself within
the bounds of predictable occurrence on a List.  Moreover, when
such swells draw criticism, it is usually on account of their
_content_--a subject that Poetics still seemed unwilling to
broach.  The real source of ire was more probably something else
--something never stated directly.  The "bleari" satires, for all
their vehemence, treated poetry and Poetics as a matter of some
importance.  The "alt.fan" items treated these same affairs as
adolescent twaddle.  Could it be that the "alt.fan" postings--
unlike the "bleari" items--wounded the vanity of the List as a
whole, and not merely the figures named directly?  So much, in
any event, for history.
          As a work of the imagination and otherwise, the AHP had
many defects, and these we shall have no scruple in pointing out
--although Mr. Funkhouser is a personal friend of ours, and we are
happy and proud to say so--but it also had many remarkable
merits--merits which it will be quite useless for those aggrieved
by the satire--quite useless for any _clique_, or set of
_cliques_, to attempt to frown down, or to affect not to see, or
to feel, or to understand.
          Its prevalent blemishes were referrible chiefly to the
leading sin of _appropriation_.  Had the work been composed
professedly in paraphrase of the whole manner of our culture's
self-satirizing discourse, we should have pronounced it the most
ingenious and truthful thing of the kind upon record.  So close
is the copy, that it extends to the most trivial points--for
example, the use of fancy, personalized sig. files in Newsgroup
postings.  The turns of phraseology, the forms of allusion, the
use of the screen, the general conduct of the satire--everything
--all--are the property of the culture as a whole.  We cannot
deny, it is true, that the self-satiric model of the discourse in
question is insusceptible of improvement, and that the
contemporary satirist who deviates therefrom, must necessarily
sacrifice something of merit at the shrine of originality. 
Neither can we shut our eyes to the fact, that the appropriation,
in the present case, has conveyed, in full spirit, the subliminal
critical qualities, as well as, in rigid letter, the inadvertent
elegances of the journalistic and chit-chat modes of the day.  We
have in the AHP the bold, vigorous, and semi-lucid prose, the
biting sarcasm, the pungent opinionation, the unscrupulous
directness, of the world beyond poetry.  Yet it will not do to
forget that Mr. Funkhouser et al. have been _shown how_ to
achieve these virtues.  They are thus only entitled to the praise
of close observers, and of thoughtful and skilful copyists.  The
analyses are, to be sure, their own.  They are neither clari.'s,
nor alt.fan.madonna's--but they are moulded in the identical
mould used by these uncredited agencies of meaning.
          Such servility of appropriation has seduced our authors
into errors which their better sense should have avoided.  They
sometimes mistake intention; at other times they copy faults,
confounding them with beauties.  In the opening salvo, we find
the lines--
          The palace dispatched Crown Prince Gizzi and
          Crown Princess Willis on a Southern
          California tour three days after the quake. 
          Following oblique criticism, the pair cut
          short their trip and returned to Rhode
          The royal attributions are here adopted from a clari.
story about the Imperial family of Japan, frequent subjects of
news stories; but it should have been remembered that _Prince_
and _Princess_ enjoy very different meaning when applied to the
ordinary citizens of a modern democracy, than they do when
applied to the Royal Family of Japan.
          We are also sure that the gross obscenity, the slander
--we can use no gentler name--which disgraces the "AHP," cannot be
the result of innate impurity in the mind of the writers.  It is
part of the slavish and indiscriminating imitation of a culture
inured to such sins.  It has done the AHP an irreperable injury,
both in a moral and intellectual view, without effecting anything
whatever on the score of sarcasm, vigor or wit.  "Let what is to
be said, be said plainly."  True; but let nothing vulgar be
_ever_ said, or conceived.
          In asserting that this satire, even in its mannerism,
has imbued itself with the full spirit of the polish and pungency
of the extra-literary, we have already awarded it high praise. 
But there remains to be mentioned the far loftier merit of
speaking fearlessly the truth, at an epoch when truth is out of
fashion, and under circumstances of social position which would
have deterred almost any man in our community from a similar
Quixotism.  For the dissemination of the AHP--an undertaking
which brought under review, by name, most of our prominent
_literati_, and treated them, generally, as they deserved (what
treatment could be more bitter?)--for the dissemination of this
attack, Mr. Funkhouser, whose subsistence lies in his pen, has
little to look for--apart from the silent respect of those at
once honest and timid--but the most malignant open or covert
persecution.  For this reason, and because it is the truth which
he and his companions have spoken, do we say to him from the
bottom of our hearts, "God speed!"
          We repeat it:--_it_ is the truth which he and his
committee have spoken, and who shall contradict us?  They have
said unscrupulously what every reasonable person among as has
long known to be "as true as the Pentateuch"--that, as a poetic
people, we are one vast perambulating humbug.  They have asserted
that we are _clique_-ridden, and who does not smile at the
obvious truism of that assertion?  They maintain that chicanery
is, with us, a far surer road than talent to distinction in
letters.  Who gainsays this?  The corrupt nature of our ordinary
criticism has become notorious.  Its powers have been prostrated
by our own arm.  The collusion between government and publisher,
publisher and critic, critic and poet, poet and academy, academy
and government, constitutes at once the most unbreakable ring of
corruption, and the most vicious circle of ideological
contamination, yet to become manifest in our letters.  But to
keep our comments focused on a single link in this chain:  the
intercourse between publisher and critic, as it now almost
universally stands, is comprised either in the paying and
pocketing of black mail, as the price of a simple forbearance, or
in a direct system of petty and contemptible bribery, properly so
called--a system even more injurious than the former to the true
interests of the public, and more degrading to the buyers and
sellers of good opinion, on account of the more positive
character of the service here rendered for the consideration
received.  We laugh at the idea of any denial of our assertions
upon this topic; they are infamously true.  In the charge of
general corruption there are undoubtedly many noble exceptions to
be made.  There are, indeed, some very few magazine editors, who,
maintaining an entire independence, will receive no books from
publishers at all, or who receive them with perfect
understanding, on the part of these latter, that an unbiased
_critique_ will be given.  There are even some editors who refuse
backing from the Federal government (or any other granting
agency) as well.  But these cases are insufficient to have much
effect on the popular mistrust:  a mistrust heightened by late
exposure of the machinations of _coteries_ in New York, San
Francisco, and now all cyberspace--_coteries_ which, at the
bidding of leading small press publishers, manufacture, as
required from time to time, a pseudo-public opinion by wholesale,
for the benefit of any little hanger on of the party, or well-
"Fed" protector of the firm.
          We speak of these things in the bitterness of scorn. 
It is unnecessary to cite instances, where one is found in almost
every issue of a book.  It is needless to call to mind the
desperate case of Sherry--a case where the pertinacity of
the effort to gull--where the obviousness of the attempt 
at forestalling a judgment--where the woefully over-done
be_roof_ment of that man-of-straw, together with the pitiable
platitude of his production, proved a dose somewhat too potent
for even the well-prepared stomach of the mob.  We say it is
supererogatory to dwell upon _Our Nuclear Heritage_, or other by-
gone follies, when we have, before our eyes, hourly instances of
the machinations in question.  To so great an extent of
methodical assurance has the _system_ of puffery arrived, that
publishers, of late, especially author-publishers, have made no
scruple of keeping on hand an assortment of commendatory notices,
prepared by their men of all work, and of sending these notices
around to the multitudinous potential reviewers within their
influence, tucked within the pages of the book.  The grossness of
these base attempts, however, has not escaped indignant rebuke
from the more honorable portions of the community; and we hail
these symptoms of restiveness under the yoke of unprincipled
ignorance and quackery (strong only in combination) as the
harbinger of a better era for the interests of real merit, and of
American poetry as a whole.
          It has become, indeed, the plain duty of each
individual connected with our poetry, heartily to give whatever
influence he or she possesses, to the good cause of integrity and
the truth.  The results thus attainable will be found worthy his
or her closest attention and best efforts.  We shall thus frown
down all conspiracies to foist inanity upon the public
consideration at the obvious expense of every person of talent
who is not a member of a _clique_ in power.  We may even arrive,
in time, at that desirable point from which a distinct view of
our persons of letters may be obtained, and their respective
pretensions adjusted, by the standard of a rigorous and self-
sustaining criticism alone.  That their several positions are as
yet properly settled; that the positions which a vast number of
them now hold are now maintained by any better tenure than that
of the chicanery upon which we have commented, will be asserted
by none but the ignorant, or the parties who have the best right
to feel an interest in "the way things are."  No two matters can
be more radically different than the reputation of some of our
_litterateurs_, as gathered from the mouths of the people, (who
glean it from the paragraphs of magazines, and the screens of
cyberspace,) and the same reputation as deduced from the private
estimate of intelligent and educated persons.  We do not advance
this fact as a new discovery.  Its truth, on the contrary, is the
subject, and has long been so, of every-day witticism and mirth.
          Why not?  Surely there can be few things more
ridiculous than the general character and assumptions of the
ordinary critical notices of new books!  An editor, sometimes
without the shadow of the commonest attainment---often without
brains, always without time--does not scruple to give the world
to understand that he or she is in the _daily_ habit of
critically reading and deciding upon a flood of publications one
tenth of whose title-pages he or she may possibly have turned
over, three-fourths of whose contents would be Hebrew to his or
her most desperate efforts at comprehension, and whose entire
mass and amount, as might be mathematically demonstrated, would
be sufficient to occupy, in the most cursory perusal, the
attention of some ten or twenty readers for a month!  What he or
she wants in plausibility, however, is made up in obsequiousness;
what he or she lacks in time is supplied in temper.  Such an
editor is the most easily pleased person in the world.  He or she
admires everything, from the fat anthology of Douglas Messerli to
the thinnest chapbook of Jessica Grim.  Indeed, such editor's
sole difficulty is in finding tongue to express his or her
delight.  Every saddle-stitched pamphlet is a miracle--every
perfect-bound book is an epoch in letters.  The editors' phrases,
therefore, get bigger and bigger every day, and if it were not
for talking trash, we might very well accuse these persons of
"doing the nasty."
          Yet in the attempt at getting definite information in
regard to any one portion of our poetic literature the merely
general reader, or the foreigner, will turn in vain from print
journals to cyberspace.  It is not our intention here to dwell
upon the radical and over-hyped hyper-textual rigmarole of the
'Net.  Whatever virtues the 'Net may hold, they are ill-suited to
the propagation or discussion of _poetry_, save in the satiric
mode advanced by the AHP.  And the demand that the AHP unmask
itself rings especially hollow, resounding in the vacuous and
unindividuated depths of cyberspace.  Alas, the poetic discourse
found on the 'Net is _virtually_ anonymous.  Who writes?--who
causes to be written?  A volley of names cris-crossing the world,
with no more character than one expects of bums--drunks who seek
out odd-jobs to earn the price of a bottle--_this_, we say, is
the class of person who subscribes to our poetics lists.  And who
but a missionary could put up with such company?  Who but an ass
will put faith in tirades which _may_ be the result of unwanted
abstinence, or in panegyrics which nine times out of ten may be
laid, directly or indirectly, to the charge of intoxication?
          It is in the favor of these saturnine pockets of
electricity that they are charged, now and again, with a good
comment _de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis_, which may be
looked into, without decided somnolent consequence, at any period
not immediately subsequent to dinner.  But it is useless to
expect literary criticism from a "List" or "Newsgroup," however
useful these may be as sources of information regarding tawdrier
realities.  As all readers know, or should know, these venues are
sadly given to naught but verbiage.  It is a part of their
nature, a condition of their being, a point of their faith.  A
veteran subscriber loves the safety of generalities, and is
therefore rarely particular.  "Words, words, words" are the
secret of his or her strength.  He or she has one or two original
notions, and is both wary and fussy of giving them out.  Such a
person's wit lies with his or her truth, in a well, and there is
always a world of trouble in getting it up.  Such person is a
sworn enemy to all things simple and direct.  He or she gives no
ear to the advice of the runner--"_Put your toe to the starting
line_," but either jumps at once into the middle of the pack, or
breaks in through the ribbon at the finish, or sidles up to the
race with the gait of a crab.  No other mode of approach has
sufficient profundity.  When fairly into it, however, such a
_runner_ becomes dazzled with the scintillations of his or her
own wisdom, and is seldom able to see a way out.  Tired of
laughing at these antics, or frightened by the spectacle, we shut
off the argument altogether, with the computer.  "What song the
Syrens sang," says Sir Thomas Browne, "or what name Achilles
assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling
questions, are not beyond _all_ conjecture"--but it would puzzle
Sir Thomas, backed by Achilles and all the Syrens of Heathendom,
to say, in nine cases out of ten, _what is the object_ of a
thorough-going Poetis List posting.
          Should the opinions quacked by our poetic geese at
large, supplemented now and then by the bubblings of fish caught
in the 'Net, should such opinions be taken, in their wonderful
aggregate, as an evidence of what American poetry absolutely is,
(and it may be said that, in general, they are really so taken,)
we shall find ourselves the most enviable set of people upon the
face of the earth.  Our fine writers are legion.  Our very
atmosphere is redolent of genius; and we, the nation, are a huge,
well-contented chameleon, grown pursy by inhaling it.  We are
_teretes et rotundi_--enwrapped in excellence.  All our poets are
Bards, good as Whitman and not yet gray; all our poetesses are
"latter day Dickinsons;" nor will it do to deny that all our
youthful enthusiasts are wise and talented moderns, of the Known
and Unknown variety, and that every body who takes pen in hand to
attack the canon, our Republic of Letters, is as great as
Caesar, or at least great Caesar's ghost.  We are thus in a
glorious condition, and will remain so until forced to disgorge
our ethereal honors.  In truth, there is some danger that the
jealousy of the rest of the world will interfere.  It cannot long
submit to that outrageous monopoly of all that is worth seeking
"from the other side of the century," which the gentlemen and
ladies of the scene betray such undoubted assurance of
          But we feel angry with ourselves for the jesting tone
of our observations upon this topic.  The prevalence of the
spirit of puffery is a subject far less for merriment than for
disgust.  Its truckling, yet dogmatical character--its bold,
unsustained, yet self-sufficient and wholesale laudation--is
becoming, more and more, an insult to the common sense of the
community.  Trivial as it essentially is, it has yet been made
the instrument of the grossest abuse in the elevation of
imbecility, to the manifest injury, to the utter ruin, of true
merit.  Is there any man or woman of good feeling and of ordinary
understanding--is there one single individual among all our
readers--who does not feel a thrill of bitter indignation, apart
from any sentiment of mirth, as he or she calls to mind instance
after instance of the purest, of the most unadulterated quackery
in letters, which has risen to a high post in the apparent
popular estimation, and which still maintains it, by the sole
means of a blustering arrogance, or of a busy wriggling conceit,
or of the most barefaced plagiarism, or even through the simple
immensity of its fawning--fawning not only unopposed by the
community at large, but absolutely supported in proportion to the
vociferous clamor with which it is made--in exact accordance with
its utter baselessness and untenability?  We should have no
trouble in pointing out, today, some twenty or thirty so-called
literary personages, who, if not idiots, as we half think them,
or if not hardened to all sense of shame by a long course of
disingenuousness, will now blush, in the perusal of these words,
through conspicuousness of the shadowy nature of that purchased
pedestal upon which they stand--will now tremble in thinking of
the feebleness of the breath which will be adequate to the
blowing it from beneath their feet.  With the help of a hearty
good will, even _we_ may yet tumble them down.
          So firm, through a long endurance, has been the hold
taken upon the popular mind (at least so far as we may consider
the popular mind reflected in ephemeral letters) by the laudatory
system which we have deprecated, that what is, in its own
essence, a vice, has become endowed with the appearance, and met
with the reception of a virtue.  So continuously have we puffed,
that we have at length come to think puffing the duty, and plain
speaking the dereliction.  What we began in gross error, we
persist in through habit.  Having adopted, in the earlier days of
our literature, the untenable idea that this literature, as a
whole, could be advanced by an indiscriminate approbation
bestowed on its every effort--having adopted this idea, we say,
without attention to the obvious fact that praise of all was
bitter although negative censure to the few alone deserving, and
that the only result of the system, in the fostering way, would
be the fostering of folly--we now continue our vile practices
through the supineness of custom, even while, in our national
self-conceit, we repudiate that necessity for patronage and
protection in which originated our conduct.  In a word, the
community of poets has not been ashamed to make a head against
the very few bold attempts at independence which have, from time
to time, been made in the face of the reigning order of things. 
And if, in one, or perhaps two, insulated cases, the spirit of
severe truth, sustained by an unconquerable will, was not to be
so put down, then, forthwith, were private chicaneries set in
motion; then was had resort, on the part of those who considered
themselves injured by the severity of criticism, (and who were
so, if the just contempt of every ingenuous man and woman is
injury,) resort to arts of the most virulent indignity, to
untraceable slanders, to ruthless assassinations in the dark.  We
say these things were done, while the community in general looked
on, and, with a full understanding of the wrong perpetrated,
spoke not against the wrong.  The idea has absolutely gone
abroad--had grown up little by little into toleration--that
attacks however just, upon a literary reputation however
obtained, however untenable, were well retaliated by the basest
and most unfounded traduction of personal fame.  But is this an
age--is this a day--in which it can be necessary to advert to
such considerations as that the words of authors are the property
of the public, and that the publication of these words is the
throwing down the gauntlet to the reviewer--to the reviewer whose
duty is the plainest; the duty not even of approbation, or of
censure, or of silence, at his or her own will, but at the sway
of those sentiments and of those opinions which are derived from
the authors themselves, through the medium of their written and
published work?  True criticism is the reflection of the thing
criticized upon the spirit of the critic.
          But _a nos moutons_--to the "AHP."  This satire has
many faults besides those upon which we have commented.  The
title, for example, is not sufficiently distinctive, although
otherwise good.  It does not confine the attack to an _English-
language_ hegemony, while the work does.  Also, the individual
portions of the satire are strung together too much at random--a
natural sequence is not always preserved--so that although the
lights of the picture are often forcible, the whole has what, in
artistical parlance, is termed an accidental and spotty
appearance.  In truth, the parts of the satire have evidently
been composed each by each, as separate themes, and afterwords
fitted into the general project, in the best manner possible.
          But a more reprehensible sin than any or than all of
these is yet to be mentioned--the sin of indiscriminate censure. 
Even here Mr. Funkhouser and friends have erred through
unthinking appropriation.  They have held in view the sweeping
denunciations of the news media, and of the juvenile spewings of
the Internet.  No one in his or her senses can deny the justice
of the general charges of corruption in regard to which we have
just spoken from the text of our authors.  But are there _no_
exceptions?  We should indeed blush if there were not.  And is
there _no_ hope?  Time will show.  We cannot do everything in a
day--_We've only just begun_, as Karen Carpenter tells us, _to
live_.  Again, it cannot be gainsaid that the greater number of
those who hold high places in our poetical literature are
absolute nincompoops--fellows and ladies alike innocent of reason
and of rhyme.  But neither are we _all_ brainless, nor is Yakub
himself so white as he is painted.  The AHP must read a little in
Jabes' _Book of Margins_--for there is yet _some_ difference
between "_carte blanche and white page_."  It will not do in a
civilized land to run a-muck like a Zapatista.  Mr. Evans and
Miss Moxley _have_ done some good in the world.  Mr. Watten isn't
_all_ killer instinct.  Mr. Silliman isn't _quite_ an ass.  Mr.
Mandel and Mr. Sherry _will_ babble inanely, but perhaps they
cannot help it, (for we have heard of such other things,) and
then it must not be denied that _at an uncertain hour, / That
agony return: / And till the ghastly tale is told, / The heart
within them burns_.
          The fact is that our authors, in the rank exuberance of
their zeal, seemed to think as little of discrimination as Jimmy
Swaggart did of the Bible.  Poetical "things in general" are the
windmills at which they spurred their rozinante.  They as often
tilted at what was true as at what was false; and thus their
lines were like funhouse mirrors, which represent the fairest
images as deformed.  But the talent, the fearlessness, and
especially the _design_ of the project, will suffice to save it
from that dreadful damnation of "silent contempt" to which
readers throughout the country, if we are not very much mistaken,
will endeavor, one and all, to consign it.
					     -Edgar Allen Poe

	diu / deskripptions of an imaginary univercity
	   	circulates irregularly thru

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