Written by: Punya Mishra
Primary Source: Punya Mishra’s Web, February 8, 2016
Graduate school can be a grind. Academia can be dull and dreary. But not if poetry and parody are brought into the mix. This is a volume of academic poetry titled Momentary Lapis Lazuli of Reason: Academia for better of verse. The poems in this volume are the collective creation of students and faculty in the EPET program at MSU, created over email and lunch breaks; during class meetings and grading assignments; between procrastinating on starting that class paper or finishing off that long over-due journal article. It is somewhat of a miracle that this book even exits.
We have stolen from the best, selecting some of the most famous and iconic examples of English language poetry and rewriting them from an academic and scholarly perspective. As we write in the introduction:
On these pages are adaptations of poems that will make Emily Dickinson lose hope and William Shakespeare think that there is something rotten in the state of academia. Edgar Allen Poe will scream “Nevermore” and Robert Frost will give his head a shake, to ask if there is some mistake. To take these wonderful poems and rewrite them—to use the most beautiful works of the English language to describe the shenanigans of graduate committees—seems almost a silly travesty. Maybe that was the point.
It has been a labor of fun, as we hope that you enjoy reading these poems as much as we enjoyed created them. You will also find, interspersed in between the poems, photographs taken by students and faculty, just in case you thought that all we could do is write bad poetry.
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