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Teh Poemz

It is hard not to love Williams’ “This Is Just to Say,” with its gleeful admission of wrong-doing. Last year I read it to a group of kindergarteners and then asked them to write about committing some forbidden act–and not being sorry. One boy had this to say about a grape:

It feels like eating snow.
I stole it from my neighbors.
Dear neighbors,
they were yummy!

Some poems invite everyone to the party. And of course Kenneth Koch is a star at this one, with his “Variations on a Theme by Williams,” my favorite of which is the second:

We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

And now I have just had the pleasure (thank you Betsy Wheeler) of reading a completely new variation. Someone who blogs at http://rabican.livejournal.com has posted an “Experiment in Translation,” putting the poem into lolspeak. If you have not yet experienced icanhascheezburger, you will need to go spend a few minutes there to get a sense of the glory that follows:

O Hai Just FYI

teh cookiez
i eated them
they was there
in ur kitchin

teh onez
u mebbe wanted
fur snackz

Very srry
they was delishus
srsly sweet
and so omnomnom.

The Kenyon Review was founded in 1939. The resources for the new literary journal were provided by Gordon Keith Chalmers, President of Kenyon College, while the inspiration to establish the journal and raise the national stature of the institution had come from his wife Roberta Teale Swartz, herself a poet and a friend and protege of Robert Frost. Frost encouraged the idea and visited Kenyon more than once. The poet and critic John Crowe Ransom was recruited to Kenyon by Chalmers with the express purpose in mind of his launching a distinguished magazine. During his 21-year tenure, Ransom published such internationally known writers as Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, William Empson, Mark Van Doren, Kenneth Burke, and Delmore Schwartz, as well as younger writers: Flannery O'Connor, Robert Lowell, and Peter Taylor, to name a few. It was perhaps the best known and most influential literary magazine in the English-speaking world during the 1940s and '50s. In 1969, discouraged by the quarterly's financial burdens and sagging reputation, Kenyon College ceased publication of The Kenyon Review. The journal was revived in 1979, and in June 1990, internationally acclaimed poet and editor Marilyn Hacker was hired as the Review's first full-time (and first female) editor. She quickly broadened the quarterly's scope to include more minority and marginalized viewpoints. In April 1994, the trustees directed that The Kenyon Review be continued, but with significant cost-reducing and revenue-enhancing initiatives. Hacker left and David Lynn (acting editor in 1989-90), Kenyon English professor, was named editor on a two-thirds time basis. The magazine's financial picture has since stabilized and improved dramatically. The creation of a Kenyon Review Board of Trustees and a renewed commitment by Kenyon College combined to guarantee the financial health of the Review and to free its editors to pursue increased excellence. Such is the status of The Kenyon Review today.