Finnian Burnett

Author, Educator, Cat Person

Continuing my stroll down memory lane in old school folders, here’s a Doctor Seuss style poem about literary theory that I wrote for a discussion board during my undergrad years. My professor must have forgiven my sometimes off rhyme scheme because I got an A.

One day Saussuure said, this is what I will do

I will outline this structuralist theory for you

to knock down this formalist hullaballo

We’ll study “la langue” like French and Urdu

And find the connections with Culler’s choo choo

The Russians chimed in, with their folklore and such

To find common factors like heroes who lust

And fair virgin maidens, their hankies they clutch

To their pale, heaving bosoms, some might call their bust

But the point, mainly, find the structure, we must

Then Levi-Strauss laid his tenets down

He didn’t make jeans, but connections profound

And he spoke about myth from a sacred ground

And folks gathered to partake of his mythical sounds

To hear the mythemes from this Frenchman’s mound.

Then Derrida jumped in with his figurative wrench

To beat down the walls of these obscure French

(though he was French, too, but his stock was the best)

But here was his light to show us the blessed

Way to achieve purity in meaningless.

See, Derrida believed in knocking down walls

And not seeing shadows in dimly lit halls

No meaning, no meaning for one and for all

Crush the structuralists by their literate balls

And wipe out logocentrism once and for all

Language is fluid, like milkshakes and sex

And Derrida said to completely tear down the text

And poke your finger into the flaming wrecks

And come up with your own meaning in flotsam and flecks

Before moving on the the next or the next.

One thought on “A poem about literary theory

  1. Well written. Thanks for sharing.

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