A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

On Failure

We almost missed the talk on failure.
But that’s success! jokes everyone
in line at MOMA. New York fucking City,
I’m not on the guest list. Out of wristbands.
Then a windfall; we're shepherded
upstairs, God's lambs, failing at failure.
What I learned this afternoon
& all last year: a Failure
fails heroically, does not accept
posh academic jobs, big cash advances,
ignores the peanut-crunching crowd,
is just, you know, a fucking dude.
Also a shaman. Also famous
& anthologized, just not enough.
Also hates the Internet. For God’s sake
keep your populace away
and leave no comments. I’m ashamed of this.
Take all this money back,
O government, academy. I’ve failed
at failure in more ways than one.


  1. Let's get the peanut-crunching crowd into AS MANY POEMS AS POSSIBLE.

    Weren't we talking about those crunchers at the bar just last week?

    I wonder if I have any nuts.

  2. my theme this season, will be glad to tag it with a retrospective failure to fail.

  3. I think we were talking about it at the bar! Was it in this same kind of context? It must have been.

  4. Lovely...totally on board with the sentiment. What is the peanut-crunching crowd?

  5. It's a line from "Lady Lazarus," which I'm always bringing up for some reason. I guess it's a good shorthand for the way certain writers seem to feel about audiences/the masses: in "Lady Lazarus" they "shove in to see . . . the big striptease."

  6. i like this a lot, esp the plath reference. another plath line came to me while writing the above entry ("nobody reads these things anyway"): "i am sick to death of hot salt." forget which poem it's from.

  7. Ahhh, I see...I must read that one.