FUNNY WOMEN SHORTS: Email from Lorin Stein

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“Last week, the new editor of the Paris Review, Lorin Stein, told The Observer that he and his recently installed poetry editor, Robyn Creswell, were preparing a ‘holy shit’ poetry section for their first issue at the helm.” – The New York Observer on Lorin Stein, who “un-accepted” poetry already accepted by former Paris Review editors.

From: Lorin Stein
To: Paris Review Staff
Subject: Holy shit

In the spirit of editorial discretion, I ask all editors, assistants, and interns at the Paris Review to help me in making the following retroactive emendations:

  1. Spring 1954: Change Samuel Beckett’s “Molloy” to the more popular “Waiting for Godot.”
  2. Spring 1996: Remove Mark Irwin’s “Juvescence of Autumn.”  It turns out “juvescence” is not a word.
  3. Remove all references to Thornton Wilder in the Winter 1956 issue and elsewhere.
  4. Upload a decent photograph of me to my Wikipedia page. I look ridiculous.
  5. Insert something by Sylvia Plath somewhere around 1960.
  6. Remove Gary Snyder’s “Three Poems” from Spring 1966. I don’t know what Plimpton was thinking.
  7. “Homesickness,” John Ashbery (Spring 1981) – add some exclamation points? Just something to consider.
  8. The grade of B+ that I received on my essay “Grégoire Bouillier: A Study in Forgetting” in Mr. Pfister’s third grade class at Sidwell Friends School should be changed to A-.
  9. Change the title of John Updike’s “Dutch Cleanser” (Winter 1976) to “Clorox® Disinfecting Floor & Surface Cleaner.” There may be money in it.
  10. Re-run Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections in case anyone missed it.
  11. More Adrienne Rich?
  12. Un-accept David Mamet’s poem “Two Men” (Spring 1990). But for god’s sake, don’t tell him.
  13. Un-accept Donald Antrim. That bastard still owes me money.
  14. Sharon Olds, “The Ferryer” (Winter 1987): Maybe add a shark? Something that makes the audience go “Holy shit! Pow! A shark!”
  15. Can we just make all the fonts bigger? Just, everywhere.
  16. Spring 1974, Pablo Neruda: enough already.

I trust these corrections will restore the Paris Review to its rightful place of literary prominence in the years to come.

Best regards,

Lorin Stein

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This is the first of Funny Women Shorts. To submit your own short humor piece (and if you’re a woman), please contact funnywomen AT therumpus dot net.


Summer Block's work has appeared in McSweeneys, The Toast, The Rumpus, PANK, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other publications. More from this author →