Michael Robbins vs. Yahoo! News: A Drone Story

Photo via Chicago Reader

Let’s say you’re a poet. You’re the kind of poet whose heart the New York Times calls shallow but full. “Alert as a tidal buoy facing down a tsunami,” Dwight Garner says. All right. So you’re one of those poets.

November: the president you openly dislike gets elected to a second term. Yahoo! News, of all organizations, asks you to write a poem for the inauguration. You say, mostly serious, that you’ll do it if you can write about drones. Yahoo! News says they will get back to you. It should end there, you think.

But Yahoo! News gets back, says they are totally cool with the dissent, and you’re told your poem will appear among commissions from Paul Muldoon, Kevin Young, Brenda Shaughnessey, and, um, James Franco. You write. The last line ends with “queef.” Hold on, it’s deliberate! Anyway, what’s more vulgar: killing kids or bodily functions?

Your poem is good. Funny, tight. Very you. But Yahoo! News decides, after some back-and-forth, that they can’t run a poem with the word “queef” in it. Standards and all. So what do you do, young poet? Mary Oliver in a canoe, you are not, so what is there to do?

Post that shit to Tumblr. Like, immediately.

Follow Vol. 1 Brooklyn on TwitterFacebookGoogle + our Tumblr, and sign up for our mailing list. (