Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Biographica Poetica" by A. W. Bellaw (1888)


A Book Which, When Published, Will Create Profound Sensation.

        We are about getting out a book to contain biographies of all the occidental and accidental poets of the hemisphere. Applicants will, please, write out the answer to the following questions:

        What is your full name?

        Your name when you are not full?

        The name you maintain in the community?

        When you were born, and why?

        Male or female? (Don't give an nasty answer.)

        Where were your grandparents born, in this county or any other?

        What asylum do you reside in?

        Were you born in the city or in the woods?

        Did you early lisp in great numbers?

        Is yours a very bad attack?

        Are you educated or not?

        What colleges didn't you attend?

        What is the color of your red hair?

        The estimated length of your feet?

        Did you ever have a poem printed?

        Did you ever have any other kind of fits?

        What do you think your station is among the great bards?

        How often does the spasm come on?

        Are you saddest when you write?

        Have you ever consulted a physician?

        If male, how old? (We know the poetic age of all female writers.)

        Do you effect the present style of trousers?

        How often do you change your style of stockings?

        How were you brought up and what editors brought you down?

        Are you married, and how often?

        Do you consider divorce a failure?

        What do you think of onions as soul-food?

        Do your poems come in a kind of spontaneous combustion, as it were?

        What is your height—when you see your name in your village weekly paper?

        How many poems, in the course of a year, do you turn and have returned?

        What is the extent of your poetical works, and what trade do you follow for pastime?

        What publications have your effusions disappeared in?

        Were any of your ancestors ever burned for writing poetry?

        What other renowned poet do you think you resemble?

        What soap do you use, if any?

        Do you ever have to rewrite any of your poems?

        Can you compose poetry and the baby at the same time?

        Do you consider one or all of your poems the best?

        What is the size of hat required after you finish a poem?

        Write answers to the best of your ability and don't sign your name with a cross. Send photograph of yourself or your next best friend and five dollars, not for publication, but as a guarantee of good faith.—A.W. Bellaw, in Time.

Sandy Creek News. October 10, 1889: 10 col 6.

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