Philip Kitcher


Proofs of Illiteracy

An academic author’s complaint

There was a time my spirits would have skipped
With joy to check my printed manuscript.

The stately font would prompt a grateful smile
At sensitive enhancements of my style;

Happy to acquiesce, I’d gladly credit
Each thoughtful question, educated edit.

When treatise editing became outsourced,
Authority and competence divorced.

Even a fledgling author quickly wearies,
Addressing scores of idiotic queries,

Each genre, style, and individual twist
Crudely reshaped to fit a standard list,

The writer’s innovative use of grammar,
Bashed and rejiggered with a clumsy hammer.

Originality engenders panic
In the dull conscience of the rude mechanic.

O brave new world! Reformed at their behest,
In which the Wicked That will rule the West.

Philip Kitcher spent his early years in England, where he started scribbling verses.  After a half-century hiatus, spent teaching philosophy in the USA and writing far too many fat books on philosophical topics, he has returned to his attempts at versifying.  Some results of these efforts have previously appeared; online in Light (Poems of the Week), in Lighten Up Online, and in Politics/Letters; in print in The Hudson Review, and in the pandemic-inspired collection Voices in Solitude.