it wasn’t a disaster

I think you could probably replace (Write it!) with (Wait for it!) in the E-Bish villanelle. Did I mention that in the writing class I observed, the students were trying to guess what a villanelle was, and one of them called it a “tritina” – like a sestina but in 3’s? Awesome guess. Someone should make up a tritina.

Anyway, this is the rewrite I’m proposing:

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
The art of losing’s not too hard to master
Though it may look like (Wait for it!) disaster.

You have to read it with a lot of emphasis.

A: Can you make the ‘wait’ more operative in ‘wait for it’?
B: (horrified) Are you giving me a line reading?
A: Uh…no. I’m telling you the line reading.

Actually, playwrights/poets/writerthings italicizing/bolding/underlining words that they think should be emphasized almost always leads to bad line readings. It trips up the natural rhythm of the line. It inevitably makes the delivery sound very fake. I’ve never seen it work. In fact, “(Write it!)” is the exception that proves the rule.

But “(Wait for it)” is much better. It now only remains to add the phrase “Oh, snap!” to a famous contemporary poem.


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