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Poetry is a non-consensual activity


At school, they said, “You’re the editor of the poetry magazine.” I said: “I don’t want to be the editor of the poetry magazine—I don’t even like poetry.” They said: “You’re the editor.” You see, poetry is a non-consensual activity—like rape. It just happens to you. So I wrote a poem in a poetical way, precious, and put it on page two—because I was brought up well to hide my ego (which is to say, they taught me the most subtle vanity). Today, I’d put it on page one—I’ve nothing to hide.


As it turns out, the position was permanent—although it took me twenty years to realise it. You cannot resign—again, like rape. It comes from the gods, you know. What, rape? Yes—rape and poetry, two forms of blunt-force penetration. (That’s a bit strong—will you take it out? No—because I’m the editor -ed).


Will you consider my material, then? No—you see, after twenty years, I’ve just warmed to the role; so I only publish my own stuff. I’ve turned megalomaniac, you see—they say I’m insane, but the birds are angels and they told me your material just doesn’t cut it. So you’ll only see me on every page—you have no choice, because poetry is a non-consensual activity.

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