FUNNY WOMEN SHORTS: Email from Lorin Stein


“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


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 →