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Bell Curve


You’re one of those “poetic souls” who is always quoting some obscure verse and wearing weird clothes. Everyone buys you poetry collections for your birthday—sorry, “the anniversary of your body’s entrance into this state of being.”


You used to write a lot of poetry in high school, and you even took some classes in college and got a witty pantoum—you know, those funky poems where the second and fourth lines in each four-line stanza are repeated as the first and third in the next stanza—published in The Midnorthwestern Annual, but you never saw much of a future in writing. You took your degree in Business and went on to a successful career in… businessing.


You’ve seen your work in a number of highly respected literary magazines, and you’ve even received a fair amount of praise for the two chapbooks you put out, but mostly you long for the day when you’ll be able to quit your full-time job and devote each waking hour to the powerful, earth-shaking verse you know you’re capable of delivering.


You are a tenured professor at a well-known university with a large endowment for arts and literature. You spend your days lecturing students on the differences between Johnson and Jonson, your weekends attending readings, lectures, and symposiums, and your summers working on a new translation of Ovid’s complete works. You have yet to discover the meaning of life, but your children all went to college for free.


Oh hey, we’ve heard of you! Some of your collections have made it onto Oprah’s Book Club list, you’ve been named the Poet Laureate of the United States, and you’ve got a house in the Hamptons, yet somehow you still capture the essence of the “working class everyman” that your fans have enjoyed since your first collection came out over 30 years ago.