I was in a small discussion on another forum over my use of the word "mythical" to describe Aaron Cometbus. I used the word in the sense of someone I'd long heard about-- had seen evidence of his existence in the form of his zines; had even an exchange of letters with him-- but had never actually met. He's analogous to Davy Crockett, who was a mythic figure while still alive, based on the crude zeen-like writings about him distributed throughout the hinterlands of America. (The most recent "Alamo" movie, with Billy Bob Thornton in the part, captures the notion well.)
For instance, stories emanating about U of Penn's campus here in Philadelphia have a mythical aspect to them-- though they may indeed be real. We hear stories of millions of dollars granted to the place by various federal government departments-- from Homeland Security to study the terrorist mindset; from the Defense Department; from the CIA. We hear tales of genetic engineering experiments gone awry.
Which brings me to a mythical letter the ULA has received purporting to be from U of Penn! It tells the story of a joint project between the genetic engineering folks and their MFA program. The project's intent: To create from a test-tube and a laboratory the perfect automatonic academic poet. Indeed, the wording in the letter seems to claim that such a person-- if you could call it a person-- already exists. They refer to "him"(?) as "SuperPoet."
Why would these scary people bother us with this information?
Apparently they read my post about Frank Walsh possibly being "The World's Greatest Poet." They note that ULA world headquarters is in the vicinity of U of Penn (as Penn sprawls across the entire city, everything is in the vicinity of it). We're uncomfortably close.
Their thinking: How could we have the World's Greatest Poet, living in Philadelphia, when they've just spent millions of dollars to articificially create such a being?
How will this situation be resolved? Is the SuperPoet for real?
I sense the idea of an upcoming Poetry Read-Off in the air.