and by juvenalia, i mean my essay ‘My Michael Magee & The Frontier of Democratic Symbolic Action’ which appeared in the current issue of JACKET. i say appeared, because i requested the essay be withdrawn, and tho my name is still in the issue, the link is dead.
about this, there are some things i need to get out of my chest:
over the past week or two that the essay has been live, i’ve received over a dozen emails from people on all sides of the ‘avant-divide’. and these people were not happy. i’ve thus far been accused of mis-reading & mis-representing magee’s critical work & poetry, Flarf in general, the Glittering Guys discussion, magee’s comments, and others’ comments, some who defended magee and some who attacked his work. i can’t really refute any of this because there is material in the essay that supports all these accusations.
i’ve also been picked-on for my flamboyant use of semi-colons (okay, she didn’t actually use the word ‘flamboyant’), my dependence on transition words, and my remedial use of the phrase “In conclusion,” (which i use 4 times in the essay, compared to the 20 times that i use the semi-colon). someone even noted that i didnt use MLA format, whatever that means!, and that i dont have a bibliography. none of this i can refute either. tho i must admit that the semi-colon bashing opened old wounds. when i was an undergraduate, i did a one-on-one poetry writing seminar. the professor on our first meeting told me that i will never get into an MFA because of my semi-colons. needless to say, i spent the rest of the year, replacing all the semi-colons with colons.
altho all this has been quite embarrassing, it’s not the embarrassment that made me withdraw the essay (i’m pretty able to live with embarrassment–have you read my online poems!). in the end, the threat of a lawsuit if i didnt take the essay down ultimately led me to ask the editors to withdraw the essay. i dont know if this person was really serious, but i was seriously afraid (the odd thing was that this person wasnt even part of the original discussion!); i must admit, it seemed like he did have a legitimate, legal gripe. tho i still cant believe someone would sue over a essay.
what really irked me tho, is that some a-hole middle-aged, middle-rate writer who teaches at some middle-class, middle-america college, had the nerve to accuse me of mis-reading the YEATS poem! this was the only part of my essay that i really thought i nailed, but perhaps you will have to decide for yourself.
anyways, out of emotional and legal fear, i withdrew the essay.
now, if you’re wondering what ‘glittering guys discussion’ im talking about, you can visit the archives here; if the link doesnt work, it’s probably because the archive was deleted (you missed that train my friends, haha!). i did have the opportunity to re-make the archives, but i am too lazy.
alas, if you want to read the essay, mail me a check for $5. just kidding, just email me (csperez06 at gmail dot com) and i will send as PDF. but PLEASE dont post it on a blog or send it to anyone else. i would love feedback on the yeats section of the essay. and am not particularly interested in any other comments, unless they are in a generous spirit of critique. (just leave my semi-colons alone!)
BEFORE YOU READ MY ESSAY, there are a few things you must know:
1) first, read the archive so you can have context for the discussion & essay. i also quote heavily from the discussion, and the quotes–and the quotes the quotes quote– are completely out of context in the essay. at the end of each quote, i note the exact date / blog the quote appeared on, so find that in the archive and read it for context.
2) second, the essay is not a ‘fair and objective’ representation of magee, flarf, the discussion, or anyone’s comments during the discussion; the essay is my own idio(t)syncratic approach to the material as a whole. if you want a ‘fair and objective’ representation/reading, write that essay yourself.
3) third, it’s okay to laugh while reading the essay. it’s also okay to take it seriously. here’s a radical idea: DO BOTH. there’s a part where i mention MACBETH; it’s really funny. there’s also a part where i use the word ‘cum’; that’s funny too. there’s also a part where i use the phrase ‘imperialist nostalgia’; that’s the serious part, but still kind of funny.
4) fourth, the essay takes several risks and fails at many points; just LEAP over these.
in conclusion, please dont sue me! and to all those that i offended in this essay, or in any of my comments about the essay, i do sincerely apologize, again, here, publicly.