On the 5th of March, Maggie Atwood, pitching (if you'll preemptively excuse the pun you don't yet realize is a pun) her new book The Tent, will be holding an unusual signing at a bookstore in SoHo. Using a gizmo called alternative "the LongPen" or the "Unotchit" (pronounced "you-no-touch-it"), she'll be holding a tele-signing. She'll be at home, sitting in front of a computer screen and scribbling on a touch sensitive pad. In the bookstore, viewers will interact with her in video conference manner and they will have their books signed by a robot arm that reproduces her signature and comments on the pages of the fan's book.
I have never been a big fan of Madge. I read the Handmaid's Tale, but have not felt curious enough about her later works to pick up anything else. I'm curious and thinking of going, if only to see the Margretchit author/cyborg in action.
Pictures of the device actually remind me of a machine Thomas Jefferson cooked up to help him keep copies of his letters. He created a series of rods and wires that he would hook to his quill pen. A second quill pen would be hooked to the other end of the device. The second pen would recreate the motions of the first (including the actions of dipping into an inkwell and shaking off excess ink), creating a second identical letter as Jefferson wrote the first. I don't recall if Jefferson had a clever name for his device.
May's Job Hunt
After a few months of nothing on the search front, May's got one definite offer and two unconfirmed offers. She's trying to stall a bit, as the confirmed offer is fine, but perhaps not worth packing up and leaving for. The unconfirmed offers, however, are both potentially sweet deals, so she's very excited.
Short Found Poem
Another Robin poem: this one entitled "I Start Out Trying to Be Nice."
I start out trying to be nice, but I can't do it. It's not working.
Can somebody just tell me my booth number please? Can you just do my job? Do my job for me. Please. Thank you.
This is so frickin' annoying.
Awww . . . I'm going to frickin' . . . right in the eye.
Unnggh . . . you stupid . . . God, c'mon . . .
So annoying. I fucking hate this.
Give me the forms, please.
Twenty percent off.
This poem, in my opinion, reflects a growing blunt honesty, something akin to Lowell's confessional works, only, you know, much stupider. The powerful "Can you just do my job" passage in the middle cuts to the core of Robin's existence in a way few other of her works have dared. The weird, stilted repetitions and ellipses, resembling stuttering or linguistic incompetence, reflects her general lack of ability. While the pathetic c'mon and please give the whole thing a touch of pathos. One of her boldest works.
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