Yup, I’d definitely say I’m on a roll now. Just finished two more of the PoMoSco assignments. The first is going to take some technical finagling to put online. The second is all online, which allows me to keep my butt firmly planted on my couch.
So here are the fruits of my efforts: a poem based on the first few paragraphs of what became the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. This is a little known yet highly entertaining journalistic prank in which the New York Sun published a series of articles claiming that a famous British astronomer had discovered life on the moon. Frankly, I have yet to delve into this piece successfully–the prose is old-timey and academic and as such is thick as cement. Which is probably why it was so much fun putting these passages through the Lazarus Corporations’ Text-Mixing Desk, a lovely internet deelie that rearranges the words of any chunk of prose you can paste into its text window. The excerpt I used from the Sun didn’t change much in terms of readability (at least for me), but the exercise itself did show how pompous diction sort of becomes an end in itself. You start following these enormous periodic sentences because your brain thinks there’s going to be some sort of gigantic, meaningful payoff at the end when really you’re chasing wave after wave of vague big-picture concepts. A familiar experience if you’ve ever spent any time binge-reading nineteenth-century novels (or criticism of those novels, in which case you’re probably even more traumatized).
Here’s hoping my humble poem makes a teensy bit of sense. I wanted it to reflect the original text on a thematic level, especially since the mixing process left big chunks of original wording which I promptly ripped off. (But I sourced the whole thing at the end, so that makes it okay! Right?) Anyway, enjoy!