OK, but did you actually read the Lit Arts prizes?

This guy looks like he could be a Lit Arts professor.
(Disclaimer: I have never taken a Lit Arts class.)

A couple of days ago, we ran a quick post announcing that the Literary Arts department had revealed the recipients of their 2013 prizes, and provided a link to said prizes. OK, but did you actually read the write-ups? Blog has nothing at all against the winners of the awards; proof: our own Mike Makowsky was one of them. Hail to the victors! But–the people who wrote the justifications for the decisions are hilarious. Here’s a sample of what they had to say about the prizewinners. (Material in italics quoted from Brown Literary Arts Prizes 2013.)

Blind Wanderer (Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Award): A strange, erotic series of prose poems…inspired by, but not dependent on, works by the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum, an ekphrastic that maps its own subversive adventure.

  • I had to Google “Odd Nerdrum” to make sure that wasn’t a joke, because, come on, whose name is Odd Nerdrum? I literally know less about Blind Wanderer now than I did before reading its description.

On Saturn Devouring His Son (Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Award): This is a series of ekphrastic poems

  • Let me stop you right there. What the fuck is an ekphrastic and why is every Literary Arts thesis one? And what kind of asshole devours his son? Looking at you, Saturn. Once again, I’m left with more questions than answers.

The Four Horsemen (Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Award): ‘Amputation’ is the chanting word, and every cuticle is licked with love.

The Four Horsemen (Edwin Honig Memorial Award): …evokes the approaching apocalypse in an oblique and constantly alerting way.

The Four Horsemen (Weston Senior Prize): The author’s lexicon is unusual, precise, and surprising, but never precious.

  • You know, I bet some other people probably submitted poem collections, too. Maybe you guys want to read some of…nope, okay, I guess we’re going with The Four Horsemen in every category. That’s cool too. As long as “every cuticle is licked with love,” I’m on board.

Miles To Go (Beth Lisa Feldman Prize in Children’s Literature): …a charming narration of substantive length with a hopeful adventuresome hedgehog named Miles at the center of the plot.

  • OH MY GOD THIS IS ADORABLE. Seriously, sounds great. Well played, Lit Arts.

In The End I Set The Book On Fire (Frances Mason Harris ’26 Prize): We enter the world of the Brain Container with dread and awe…

  • I mean, I usually don’t enter the world of the Brain Container really at all. But then again, I haven’t been getting out much recently. I guess “dread and awe” is as good a way to go in as any.

Calendar Girl (Weston Senior Prize): The whole thing works, in its sequence of succinct turns, as a kind of extended postmodern haiku.

  • So is it like a five-seven-five syllable poem blown up to 500-point Comic Sans, or what? Related: is the word “postmodern” actually serving a function in this sentence, or was it just thrown in to make the reviewer sound more sophisticated?

Story Of O (Weston Graduate Prize): The writer controls the text; or rather: the text controls the writer? _________ controls the text; _________ controls the writer?

  • Yes. Totally.

Brown Literary Arts, ladies and gentlemen. I’m really going to regret this when I declare Lit Arts and whoever wrote these synopses is my concentration advisor. But actually.

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1 Comment

  1. I don’t know what ekphrastic means either…. but what do i know, i am just an ADORABLE adventurous hedgehog

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