“Oh, and one more thing,” she says. “Could you write 500 words on something vaguely poetry-related for the blog?”
“Yeah. No problem.”
What’s an intern to do?
The first step, it would seem, is to hide my scant knowledge of all-things-poetry (and my dignity) behind a red herring of a monicker. So out comes the trusty Glossary of Literary Terms – thank you, Mr. Abrams. The page 27 entry on Low Burlesque looks promising: “The Hudibrastic poem takes its name from Samuel Butler’s Hudibras (1663), which satirized rigid Puritanism by describing the adventures of a Puritan knight, Sir Hudibras. Instead of the […] traditional genre of the chivalric romance, however, we find the knightly hero experiencing mundane and humiliating misadventures which are described in […] a ludicrously colloquial idiom.” Well, slap me silly and call me Betty! “Sir Hudibras” it is, then.
The second step, I suppose, is to find a giant on whose shoulders I can ride, a monolith of the Montreal poetry scene upon whom I can build my own shabby temple to Apollo… a mentor in the ways of the muse… or just some schmuck off of whom I can leech street-cred. Whichever’s easiest. So I Wikipedia’ed “schmuck” and, lo and behold, I’m linked to the article on Leonard Cohen. In which of Lenny’s footsteps should Sir Hudibras follow, I wonder, to effectively hide his ignorance among the literati?
Spend youth in Westmount. Check. Although Sir Hudibras can’t say he’s soaked up much of the poetic flavour around Vallum’s Westmount office, he has soaked up a lot of puddle water displaced by discreet old dowagers shooting out in their Mercedes on errands of mystery.
Study Irving Layton with gusto. Check. While Sir Hudabris never got the chance, as young Leonard did, to actually study under the recently deceased Layton, he did attend the eerily pre-mortem eulogy delivered by Brian Trehearne for the CBC. Them’s “fighting words” if I ever heard them, Brian.
Prolong an undergrad degree at McGill with a 5th-year Victory Lap. Check. While Cohen used his final year to publish Let Us Compare Mythologies, however, Sir Hudabris may or may not have been busy comparing mythologies with some of the more dashing students… if ya know what I’m sayin’. How Leonard found the time, I’ll never know. Sir Hudibras, however, vows, from this point forward, to lay his paramours aside in order to provide you with some of the best vaguely-poetry-related posts the blogosphere has ever seen!
Which, I suppose, brings me to the third step: make wildly extravagant promises to one’s
audience and, in attempting to fulfill them, try to avoid mundane and humiliating misadventures.