Here’s the Poem by Amanda Palmer ’98 that Everyone on the Internet Is Yelling About

Palmer: “It is always very interesting when people misinterpret art, and then get angry about it.”

Wesleying's own Gabe took this ridiculously excellent shot of Amanda Palmer at last weekend's "Humanity Festival." Click for the full gallery.

Wesleying’s own Gabe took this ridiculously excellent shot of Amanda Palmer at last weekend’s “Humanity Festival.” Click for the full gallery.

Amanda Palmer ’98 (whom we haven’t blogged about in a whole week-and-a-half, it’s true, we swear) is not much of a stranger to controversy, so the Internet probably shouldn’t have been surprised or outraged when she responded to the Boston bombing by writing a poem for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (titled, fittingly, “A Poem for Dzhokhar“) and posting it on her blog on Sunday.

But that’s not really the way things worked out.

As Palmer herself noted in a follow-up post a few days after posting the poem, “there are 1,947 comments on a poem that took me—no exaggeration—about 9 minutes to write. many of the comments have been confused, many of them understanding, many of them angry.” Indeed, dozens upon dozens of readers have called Palmer out for what they perceive as her self-interest and arrogance in the wake of a tragedy. One particularly popular comment, signed “A fan,” argues that “this isn’t a poem for Dzjokhar, it’s a poem for yourself because you imagine you know how he feels.” The comment currently has 770 up-votes and 12 down-votes, if that gives you an indication of what the reaction has been like.

Meanwhile at Gawker, Max Read crowned the poem “the worst poem of all time” (because obviously Gawker is as good a judge of poetry as it is a judge of liberal arts institutions), describing it as “bad timing,” “bad ideas,” and “inane and self-serving,” though I’m not entirely sure how self-serving it really is now that it has served its author a generous heaping of 1,947 mostly scathing comments.

Speaking of scathing, the poem has attracted particularly unflattering critiques from prominent music critics like Maura Johnston, who calls Palmer “a woman trapped so far up her own ass she can’t breathe,” and Pitchfork’s Laura Snapes, who calls Palmer a “narcissistic knob”:

And Palmer herself? She claims that readers have misinterpreted her art and that “it’s about more than you think it is”:

Maybe she’s right. I dunno, I quickly read the poem in between voice breaks during my radio show and don’t really remember it well enough to be outraged. Then again, outraging people is pretty much what Palmer has been good at lately and getting outraged is what Gawker is always good at. Who am I to question that holy paradigm?

You can read Palmer’s poem here and her follow-up about the poem here. Also, you can read our coverage of Palmer’s performance last weekend here. If anyone needs me, I’ll be rehearsing for my new Awesomefest project, The Narcissistic Knobs.

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5 thoughts on “Here’s the Poem by Amanda Palmer ’98 that Everyone on the Internet Is Yelling About

  1. AccordingToPlan

    I can’t say Maura Johnston’s or Laura Snapes’ reviews sound that far off…but at least I’ve _heard_ of Amanda Palmer.

  2. Bond

    Still confused as to why there’s no reaction to her attempt of a cover of NWA’s Fuck the Police that day. ‘Humanity Fest’ Indeed.

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