The (hopefully) Compleat Works of The Mad Poetist

Truly experimental poetry.

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Introduction to the Collection.
The Mad Poetist was, or will be, born on the twenty-ninth of November in the year 2508, in a hospital on the outskirts of the second Martian colony. She died on the twenty-eighth of November of that same year, in a bar across the street, at an apparent physical age of seventy-nine or thereabouts. These are the only facts about which we can be reasonably certain. She ends before she began, and begins after she ended. This is absolutely typical of her altogether atypical life.

The Mad Poetist was/is/will be an inventor, creating and mastering the entirely new technology of personal time-travel, and then abusing it shamelessly (hence the difficulty in tense, which for simplicity's sake I shall from here on ignore). She is a world traveller in the truest sense, traveling from world to world to world, discovering new planets and occasionally blowing them up with various experimental weapons. Mad scientist, lover, and occasional intergalactic dictator, she has been all these things in a career which, due to the use of the aforementioned time-travel, cryogenics, alternate realities, thirtieth-century life-extending drugs and fifty-first-century rejuvenation technology; extends for thousands of years in every imaginable direction.

But first, foremost, and to her most importantly, The Mad Poetist is a poet.

The Mad Poetist's writings appear throughout history, all over the galaxy. She has composed epics on cave-walls alongside paintings of mammoths. She has been featured in anthologies of Ganymedean holo-sonnets (frequently to the very great surprise of editors, who cannot remember including her). She has at various points been rumoured to be the true author of some of literature's greatest works, operating under such diverse assumed names and identities as Christina Rosetti, Don Marquis, Vvvrthrax the Cinnabard, and Poetron Version 3.0.

Many of these rumours were encouraged by The Mad Poetist, and a few of the more blatantly false ones were in fact started by her.

Oddly enough, she has always vehemently denied writing Shakespeare.

Due to her habit of hopping about in time, operating under assumed names, and scribbling poems on whatever is handy and then teleporting them into unlikely locations for readers to find, it is extremely difficult to even begin to assemble a comprehensive collection of this artist's works. The difficulty is further compounded by The Mad Poetist herself. She is one of those artists who has trouble resisting the urge to fiddle and revise. This is hardly unusual, but most creators with such tendencies do not have access to a time machine. Many an editor has been subjected to the frustrating experience of having The Mad Poetist's poems re-write themselves multiple times after the anthology containing them is printed. A few which she has apparently never been completely satisfied with constantly rearrange themselves as one reads them. One or two which The Mad Poetist found horribly embarrassing have disappeared entirely.

This tendency was taken to extremes with a body of work known collectively as "The Paradox Poems," a series of poems which were created and then subsequently uncreated when The Mad Poetist traveled back in time and shot herself before she could write them. Critics are divided on whether she did this because she despised the poems so much that she wished she had never written them, or merely because she wanted to see what would happen. Those in the latter camp consider The Paradox Poems' disconcerting tendency to perpetually flicker in and out of existence to be a profound metaphor and an integral part of the poems' aesthetic impact. These poems are rarely reprinted, as every new edition tends to result in minor ruptures in the space-time continuum.

In spite of the challenges, which include the very real risk that the author may prevent my parents from meeting each other if she is displeased by my editorial direction, or at the very least inseALL EDITORS ARE YOGHURT HEADS HA HArt insults into the printer's proofs, this editor is going to attempt to assemble as comprehensive a collection as possible of all the known or assumed works of The Mad Poetist currently in some state of existence, with annotations.

Hopefully reality as we know it will not be collapsed into a singularity at any point in the process.

-Dani Atkinson, Editor

                                            AS CAN BE KILLED BY OUR SORT





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