05 October 2008

In Which I Become More Prolific Than I Ever Imagined

So, as I do every few days, I was reading Ron Silliman's blog, and his latest post was about an intriguing online book of nearly 4,000 pages of poetry by nearly 4,000 poets. Wow, I thought, what a huge undertaking -- what a massive organizational nightmare! It must have been put together by somebody with a lot of connections!

And then in the list of names, I noticed various people I knew. But I hadn't heard anything about this project. Why do my friends hide things from me? I thought. Are they ashamed that they have started writing and publishing poetry?

And then I got to the bottom of Ron Silliman's post:
No, the quirkiest thing about Issue 1 is going to be that, if it includes your name – and, hey, it probably does – you have no memory of having written that text, nor of submitting it to Issue 1. Or, as Ed Baker put it so elegantly in the comments stream to For Godot,

I DIDN’T FUCKING WRITE THIS GARBAGE!
And then I took another look. And lo, there was my name. Huh. I had been included after all! And I hadn't done anything!

I downloaded the giant file, searched for my name, and found the poem I hadn't written:
Frisking

Like golden dews

Matthew Cheney
Now, it's entirely possible that another Matthew Cheney wrote this. I know that my name is not unique. (In fact, my Big Uncle Dick, hiding out in his undisclosed location, named his 13th clone "Matthew". Perhaps that's the author.) It's just that, given some of the other names on the list, I'd be really surprised if another Matthew Cheney were associated with such a group. I'd be happy to know that he was. I could blame all the various things I wish I hadn't written on him.

The comments at the site
(scroll down) are pretty amusing -- some are outraged, some are perplexed, some are playing along.

The whole thing strikes me as a stunt pulled by someone who desperately wants attention. (And now I'm giving it to 'em. So it goes.) I'm still amazed that anyone would put the time into creating something like this, but the amazement now is the sort of amazement one has when watching the totally insane rather than watching the harmlessly obsessive.

1 comment:

  1. Now I feel weirdly rejected after not finding my name in the list. Not to mention righteously outraged on behalf of my many deserving also-rejected friends.

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