PowerPoint Poetry

David Galef's latest dispatch from U of All People, in honor of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual meeting this week.


January 31, 2008

At U of All People, WAC, or Writing Across the Curriculum, has become big, and it’s no longer just for students writing in a chemistry class. Even faculty and administrators have joined the trend toward hybridization and crossovers. See the printout below, found in a board room after a splice of an academic administrators’ meeting with a poetry workshop.


PowerPoint Poetry



  • Opening
  • Imagery
  • Other Parts
  • Theme
  • Conclusion


1. The sun glinting on the oak-hued seminar
table at an angle of four o’clock
2. Minutes from previous meeting
3. The sobriety of our endeavors edges us forward

â–¡Address to Reader

1. You, who so resemble us
2. See report from 2007

â–¡Establish Issues
1. The growing fiscal debt
2. Greenbacks drifting into a bottomless pit


â–¡List of Things

1. The Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence,
the new Dana Gioia Residential College
2. Open maws, fevered hands reaching out

â–¡This Thing Is Like That Thing
1. The debt is an untamed lawn
2. The fund drive is like a mower that has
come upon boulders hidden in the grass

â–¡Juxtapose Words with Cute Visuals
1. Balance the budget;
budget the balance (chiasmus)
➼ ♬ $ :-) ☜
2. “Money is a kind of poetry”
-- Wallace Stevens
moolah ≈, $, ¢, £

Other Parts

□Such as Enjambment and Cut ✄ Faculty Raises ✍
â–¡Bulleted Lines
•Terse tercets

1. Insert arresting metaphor here
2. Pause for caesura and coffee break


â–¡The Importance of Art
1. Humanities are the loss-leader
of the academy
2. “Poetry makes nothing happen.”
3. A glint in a business major’s
contact lens

â–¡Budget Shortfall
1. There is never, no, never enough
2. Imagine a plant that grows shorter instead of taller
every year. What soil nourishes it?
3. Impose hiring freeze

â–¡Cosmetic Measures, Like Brushing Pancake Makeup over a Burn
1. Building for the Future,
a four-step plan in quatrains
(first draft)
2. The smell of fresh paint from the newly renovated
library lounge


â–¡Endings Are Always Hard
1. Seated in silence, hands matched as if in prayer
2. “In my end is my beginning”

â–¡Repeat Earlier Points
1. Dana Gioia Residential College
2. Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence
3. The angle of the sun, now declining at five o’clock

â–¡Any Questions?


David Galef is a professor of English and former administrator of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Mississippi. His latest books are the novel How to Cope with Suburban Stress and the co-edited fiction anthology 20 over 40.


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