Professional funny person Alexandra Petri ’10, who lightens up the pages of The Washington Post (and occasionally these pages: see harvardmag.com/petri-18), has confected a new book: A[lexandra] P[etri’s] U.S. History: Important American Documents (W.W. Norton, $27.95). Lest overzealous high-schoolers memorize them, note that all originate in her imagination. As this sample shows, she is no slouch at nailing other people's styles.
Emily Dickinson Chats with Tech Support
Derek: Hi, there! Thank you so much for contacting customer support, Emily! How can I help?
Emily: I Cannot Write In Sentence Case
I Look—to You—for Aid
And If—I Rest—My Hands
Upon the Keys—A Dash is Made
I do not Mean—to Write
Like This—It is no Proper Hand
Why it Inserts—such Dashes
I Cannot Understand
I Wish—to write Words— Normally
Derek: Hey Emily! I’m so sorry for the keyboard issue. It sounds like a hardware problem.
Emily: Dear Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Says—I Have Got—A Style
But I don’t Mean to Have A—Style
I need my—Keyboard Fixed
Derek: I’m going to need you to turn your machine off and on again.
Emily: Having it Once Turned Off
Can I—Be Sure—It Will Return?
I fear Much to Dispatch It to
That Undiscover’d Bourne
Derek: This is just a standard thing we tell everyone to do with their machines and should not be a problem, Emily!
Emily: I shall Attempt—
To Dispatch It—
Into this Silent Realm
Beyond where—Mousy Tooth may Gnaw
Or Rust and Moth Consume
Derek: Emily, have you restarted your machine?
Emily: I have Emerged from Joysome—Death
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