Shady Dealings

The Joys of Self Stimulation

by D. Garcia Wahl

According to health professionals, the benefits of masturbation include:

Bearing this in mind, in relation to his job as poet laureate of Minnesota, Robert Bly must be the healthiest man in the state.

Itís been over a year now since Governor Pawlenty signed his name on the dotted line, making Mr. Bly the first official poet laureate of Minnesota. Itís been over a year now since Minnesota poet laureate Robert Bly has failed to do a damn thing with his illustrious title. Plain and simple, itís an embarrassment; an embarrassment to Minnesota, Minnesota poetry, the Humanities Center, Gov. Pawlenty, and Bly himself. But he did live up to his promise. Robert Bly agreed to take the position as long as it ďdoesnít involve any workĒ. He even wrote it on his application. He made one campaign promise and he actually kept it. How very noble, Mr. Bly.

Even looking at his website, there is barely a mention of his title and nothing that would indicate heís done anything but promote Robert Bly. This is what he did without the title of poet laureate. The tradition has continued. He could have been promoting Minnesota poetry but, by his very words, had no intention of doing so. Minnesota poetry deserves so much more than this. The rot at the bottom of all this is that the position of Minnesota poet laureate has no term limit. Robert Bly could be poet laureate for the next thirty years. It could be the endless parade of nothing happening. He could turn all this around if he truly wanted to. Itís not as if it would take a lot of time away from his self promotion; in fact, his self would be more promoted if he actually did the job.

Letís look at a time frame here. I spent one week just to see how much could be done in less than 10 hours. No more than 10 hours (1/4 of the average personís work week). This is what I did over the span of 7 days:

That adds up to a grand total of 7 hours and 40 minutes. I didnít come close to hitting the quarter work week limitation and still got more done than Bly has in over a year. Nothing on this list was difficult. Nothing on this list was horribly time consuming. Point is, if you are not willing to spend 7 hours of your week promoting Minnesota poetryódonít be the damn laureate of poetry for the state! Itís absurd. How many people can get away with a title promotion in their work and remain in that position without doing any of the work in the span of a year? Governor Pawlenty canít even get away with that. Employees at the Humanities Center cannot get away with that. So why are we allowing Mr. Bly to get away with that?

The time to get a new poet laureate is now. It is a shame we could not have held the revolt during the poetry month of April. We will chalk the first mistake up to the need for celebrity in the position in order to garner proper headlines in the media. That has been done and I have yet to talk to one person who believes Bly has done a good job. Now is the time to put in the second laureate, one that will actually do the job because of a heartfelt need to promote this stateís poetry.

I would think Mr. Bly would be more than happy to end his time as laureate. It would provide him the precious seconds he loses to the job every year and, despite his being very, very healthy, there are the underlying myths surrounding masturbation:

© 2009 by D. Garcia-Wahl.

D. Garcia-Wahl's first novel, Ashes of mid autumn, was published in 2004, as was his first full collection of poetry, All that does come of madden'd days. See for further machinations.