Dan’s Sestina Self-Study: The Pie Chart.


Once upon a time, I was the sestinas section editor for the McSweeney’s website. It was fun. I read a lot of sestinas, solicited a lot of people to send, and published those that I thought were good, really good.

Then some people, apparently those whose sestinas I rejected, emailed the guy who ran the Foetry.com website and said I only publish my friends. This was false, but not entirely, and since it wasn’t entirely false, just mostly, it’s hard to have this kind of conversation on the internets.

But I did make a pie chart and broke down the numbers. At one point I put up the entire table that accompanied this pie chart, along with notes. The people at the website picked it apart and, even in the face of the raw data, stood by what they anonymously said.

It seems a long time ago that I was called a “sycophantic” editor. I might not have picked the best sestinas, sure, but it certainly wasn’t based on being sycophantic. If that’s true, I am a really bad sycophant.

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One response to “Dan’s Sestina Self-Study: The Pie Chart.

  1. mister jim

    Peculiar use of a term. Presumably, you would have to pile praise and acceptances on someone very important you hoped might be your friend going forward. The pie chart would need a slice for that. Either they didn't know the term (why do we presume all poets are intellectually advanced?), or they thought your friends were impressive (in which case, why not take their impressive stuff?). Or did they think you have a lot more friends? Maybe just wasting away and lighting firecrackers. The Web is an interesting psychological bathyscaphe.