Voting closed today for the poem to put into New York City subways. Below is the letter the Dorothy Parker Society sent today to the Poetry Society of America, which chooses the poems for the MTA. Thanks to the 953 people who voted!
June 1, 2012
The Poetry Society of America
15 Gramercy Park
New York, New York 10003
Dear Ms. Quinn,
The Dorothy Parker Society was pleased to learn that the Poetry Society of America is once again working with the Metropolitan Transit Authority to produce Poetry in Motion. It is a wonderful partnership, and we congratulate you on its long success.
We are reaching out to the PSA to consider a Dorothy Parker poem for the program. In April for National Poetry Month, we asked our members to suggest Dorothy Parker poems for consideration by the PSA. We held a kickoff event in Brooklyn where more than three dozen poems were read at our event. Many were suggested via social networking. We then conducted online voting for a month on dorothyparker.com; more than 950 votes were cast among 12 finalists.
These are three Dorothy Parker poems we are asking the PSA to consider for the Poetry in Motion program:
One Perfect Rose
A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet—
One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.
By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.
Faut de Mieux
Travel, trouble, music, art,
A kiss, a frock, a rhyme,—
I never said they feed my heart,
But still they pass my time.
There are many reasons to consider Dorothy Parker to be in the program, to join so many esteemed poets that the PSA has chosen in the past. But these are the three strongest reasons we humbly submit to the society for reasons to consider her:
1. Unlike many poets in the Poetry in Motion program, Dorothy Parker was a straphanger;
2. Dorothy Parker was a native New Yorker who grew up and learned to write poetry in the city;
3. The New York State Writers Hall of Fame and the National Institute of Arts and Letters are two of the honors bestowed upon this native New York City poet. Dorothy Parker’s name is instantly recognizable as being from New York City.
To the delight of the Dorothy Parker Society, we discovered a sample of Parker’s writing where she used a subway ride on the Times Square Shuttle as an excuse for being late to a Broadway show she was to review. In 1917, in Vanity Fair, she wrote:
“I had endeavored with a blind, childlike faith, to reach the theatre in the subway, and I became hopelessly involved in the shuttle system. I simply couldn’t get out of the thing—for what seemed like hours, I wandered hopelessly about under the city, feeling like Jean Valjean. It seemed as if I would have to spend the remainder of my life underground, and there was one moment of frightful despondency when I nearly hurled myself under a passing train and ended it all. So when, spent and footsore, I eventually did reach the Bijou, I wasn’t in exactly a receptive frame of mind.”
The Dorothy Parker Society, founded in 1999, has more than 5,000 members worldwide. Having a Dorothy Parker poem included in the Poetry in Motion fulfills our mission:
1. To promote the work of Dorothy Parker;
2. To introduce new readers to the work of Dorothy Parker;
3. To expand the fan base of Dorothy Parker;
4. To have as much fun as possible.
The Dorothy Parker Society would be honored to have a poem included in the Poetry in Motion program, on posters and MetroCards. We would publicize the inclusion in our e-newsletter, website and social networks. We would host a cocktail party celebration, public poetry reading, and soiree to unveil her poster.
Please review our proposal. We look forward to hearing your response soon.
Kevin C. Fitzpatrick,
The Dorothy Parker Society