Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dissertation: A Poem

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Dissertation: A Poem

Recent scholars have overlooked
the fact that I need a topic for
my dissertation, so I'm inventing
one and pretending my dissertation
will fill a niche.  This study, then,

brings together punctuation-marks,
words, phrases, clauses, sentences,
paragraphs, and page numbers
in a way that will help it slip past

my dissertation-committee, who
doomed themselves to read
dissertations, or to pretend to,
by writing one themselves, or

pretending to.  The weight of
Sisyphus's boulder divided by
the weight of a dissertation
equals the weight of absurdity
generated by the process of

writing a dissertation. As a
genre, "dissertation" is like
a carcass picked at by
vultures who aren't hungry.
The carcass isn't going any-
where, and even the vultures
don't like looking at it.

I assure you, however,
moreover, and heretofore,
that my dissertation will rise
from the dead, will have flesh
on its html bones, and will

carry me into a town where
I shall be doctored. A
dissertation is a required
thing, as is all hazing: this
is one important them walking
through my dissertation.

Copyright 2011
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