“O Heart, be at peace,” the Epic Poet slurred to a redheaded NYU urban studies major last night around midnight, somewhere in the East Village, while the Literary Man made the “drinky drinky” hand-gesture behind the Epic Poet’s back. “Because,” he continued bravely, making the line-break gestures with a chop of his hand. “Nor knave nor dolt can break / What’s not for their applause / Being for a woman’s sake. Enough if the work has seemed / So did she your strength renew. . .”
It is a foregone conclusion that poetry can help the Epic Poet “meet” women, but can it help him find true love? Without context, the Epic Poet’s gambit might have seemed desperate or even desultory. But it’s important to know that last night was March 16th, which meant that when the Epic Poet started spouting strange syllables at the improbably attentive urban studies major a few seconds before midnight, the Epic Poet was actually celebrating — in his own awkward way — Saint Patrick’s Day.
To any educated listener in the bar — such as the Literary Man — it was obvious that the Epic Poet was quoting Yeats, specifically his “Against Unworthy Praise” poem, which was published only 101 years ago. An Irish poet, at the stroke of Saint Patty’s, to a redhead nonetheless, you had to hand it to the Epic Poet: he knew how to lay it on thick. Too thick, evidently, as the redheaded urban studies major quietly turned around — mid poetry-stream — and rejoined her friends as the Epic Poet finished the poem bravely, to the rudely turned backs of the future urban planners, until the Literary Man felt bad for his friend and gently him pulled him out of the bar and into the early morning revelry of the Irish.
This week’s literary terms:
Having a hangover the day after Saint Patrick’s Day is a cliché:
an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel
Having a hangover the morning of Saint Patrick’s Day is foreshadowing:
a literary device in which an author suggests certain plot developments that might come later in the story.
Recommended Literary House of Spirits:
The White Horse Tavern is an excellent house of spirits located on the intersection of Hudson Avenue and 11th Street.
Honoring the Literary Irish:
William Butler Yeats as a young Literary Man:
After winning the the Nobel Prize, it’s preferable that a Literary Man’s hair become extremely white, as quickly as possible, and old Yeats perfectly exemplifies this literary aesthetic: