Franklin P Adams: Sporadic Fiction


[ It’s been too long since I’ve posted a poem from Franklin P Adams. Let me fix that. From Tobogganing on Parnassus here’s a piece complaining about the way magazines of the early 20th century treated fiction. It’s a treatment completely, wholly, utterly alien to people searching for content on the Internet. ]

Sporadic Fiction

Why not a poem as they treat
The stories in the magazines?
“Eustacia’s lips were very sweet.
   He stooped to” — and here intervenes
A line — italics — telling one
   Where one may learn the things that he,
The noble hero, had begun.
   (Continuation on page 3.)

Page 3 —- oh, here it is — no, here —
   “Kiss them. Eustacia hung her head;
Whereat he said, ‘Eustacia dear’ —
   And sweetly low Eustacia said:”
      (Continued on page 17.)
   Here, just between the corset ad.
And that of Smithers’ Canderine.
   (Eustacia sweet, you drive me mad.)

“No, no, not that! But let me tell
   You why I scorn your ardent kiss —
Not that I do not love you well;”
   No, Archibald, the reason’s this:
      (Continued on page 24.)
   Turn, turn my leaves, and let me learn
Eustacia’s fate; I pine for more;
   Oh, turn and turn and turn and turn!

“Because— and yet I ought not say
   The wherefore of my sudden whim.”
Here Archibald looked at Eusta-
   Cia, and Eustacia looked at him.
“Because,” continued she, “my head — ”
   I never knew Eustacia’s fate,
I never knew what ‘Stack said.
   (Continued on page 58.)

Franklin P Adams: Monotonous Variety


[ I realized it’d been ages since I last showcased one of the comic verses of Franklin P Adams, and that’s a shame. From Tobogganing On Parnassus once more, then, a bit of griping about writers who search the thesaurus for all the possible ways to indicate someone has spoken. It’s an old and familiar complaint, but FPA brings a wonderful melody to it. ]

Monotonous Variety

(All of them from two stories in a single magazine.)

She “greeted” and he “volunteered”;
    She “giggled”; he “asserted”;
She “queried” and he “lightly veered”;
    She “drawled” and he “averted”;
She “scoffed,” she “laughed” and he
       “averred”;
He “mumbled,” “parried,” and “demurred.”

She “languidly responded”; he
    “Incautiously assented”;
Doretta “proffered lazily”;
    Will “speedily invented”;
She “parried,” “whispered,” “bade,” and
       “mused”;
He “urged,” “acknowledged,” and “refused.”

She “softly added”; “she alleged”;
    He “consciously invited”;
She “then corrected”; William “hedged”;
    She “prettily recited”;
She “nodded,” “stormed,” and “acquiesced” ;
He “promised,” “hastened,” and “confessed.”

Doretta “chided”; “cautioned” Will;
    She “voiced” and he “defended”;
She “vouchsafed”; he “continued still”;
    She “sneered” and he “amended”;
She “smiled,” she “twitted,” and she “dared”
He “scorned,” “exclaimed,” “pronounced,”
       and “flared.”

He “waived,” “believed,” “explained,” and
       “tried”;
    “Commented” she; he “muttered”;
She “blushed,” she “dimpled,” and she
       “sighed”;
    He “ventured” and he “stuttered”;
She “spoke,” “suggested,” and “pursued”;
He “pleaded,” “pouted,” “called,” and
       “viewed.”

           *    *    *

O synonymble writers, ye
    Whose work is so high-pricey.
Think ye not that variety
    May haply be too spicy?
Meseems that in an elder day
They had a thing or two to say.

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