A.E. Stallings


Terence Hearsay at the AWP

“The best [parody] I have ever seen, and indeed the only good one.” ~ A.E. Housman

Terence, what’s this crap you write—
The metaphors are limp and trite,
Rhyme is over, and you scan.
This stuff should be flushed down the can.
Your cat is dead—that’s really rough. We
Sympathize, but spare us “Fluffy”:
Fluffy’s dead, you don’t have dental,
Boo-hoo. Don’t get sentimental.
That gothic black, the latest ink—
Makes you a poseur, don’t you think?
Please stop. Don’t make the Muses grovel.
Go write a memoir, or a novel.
Your retrogressive efforts pain us.
Quoth Nirvana, entertain us.

Entertainment? That’s pathetic.
What you crave is anesthetic.
Hearing poems makes you crabby?
Stay home: binge-watch Downton Abbey.
Or thumb the smart screen of your phone,
Or text friends, in the dark, alone.
Poetry is not for quitters.
Tweet that, all you twits and twitters.

I too have sworn a long hiatus,
Only to update my Status,
And stalked on Facebook my old flame,
And spent hours Googling my name.
It’s true my sonnets do not drip
With irony. They are not hip.
When they’re reviewed, they’re often panned.
In fact, I write them out longhand.
You do not have to call them art—
They’re easier to learn by heart.
But I would friend you, since we’ve met
In person (not the Internet).

I knew a hippie, way back East,
Who had a way with hops and yeast:
Took me aside, and told me, “Kid,
I’m leaving, going off the grid.
The free verse they have here on draft,
It’s not half bad, but I like craft.
I’m giving up my phone and Kindle,
I’m going to weave, and buy a spindle,
I plan to ponder life and death,
And maybe brew some crystal meth
And grow some pot, and read with passion
Poets who’ve gone out of fashion.
And I will write and read and think,
And once unplugged, will give up drink,
And only quaff the crystal waters
Of the nine, the sacred Daughters.
But pass that jar of home-brew, will you?

A little poison still won’t kill you.”

A.E. Stallings is an American poet who lives in Athens, Greece. In a previous millennium, she studied Classics in Athens, Georgia. She is a MacArthur fellow. Her most recent book is Olives.