- Due to some inscrutable misunderstanding about the relationship between the Julian and the Gregorian calendars, there are some people who believe that your birthday is actually tomorrow, on April 23rd.
- It seems that you encouraged this misconception in interviews, because being born on the 23rd of April meant that you shared a birthday with Shakespeare and Shirley Temple.
- Aha! Ahahaha! What a deliciously absurd blend of highbrow and low! What a mirthful concoction, one which is all too fitting for a man who draws inspiration from the great texts as readily as he does from the tooth-achingly saccharine products of contemporary America! Ahahaha! Shirley Temple and William Shakespeare! Who but the great man would think to bring these two personages together! A wonderful jape!
- Jokes – I am sure you never presented this in such ham-fisted terms, although I will say that the whole 23rd of April business does reek of that kind of donnish, “twinkly” humour that can occasionally make your letters slightly irritating.
- You know the kinds of jokes I am talking about – a bit too reliant on puns that only make sense if one speaks fluent French, a bit too intoxicated with “wordplay”, and ultimately too giddily pleased with the apparently novel spectacle of a known genius taking an avid interest in American popular culture.
- It’s really not bad, as examples of self-mythologising go. Maybe you weren’t even doing it on purpose.
- Joking again – you were most certainly doing it on purpose.
- I imagine you sitting in your well-appointed study, playing chess and breaking Shostakovich records over your knee, laughing quietly to yourself about your next plan to wow the punters by proving to them you had heard of Marilyn Monroe.
- Not really so irritating, as these things go.
- I will let it slide, and point out that you share an actual birthday with Kant, Lenin, and Bettie Page.
- Surely you could have got something good out of that.
- It’s better than Shakespeare and Shirley Temple, in my opinion.
- Happy Birthday.
a preview from AWRY, a Brick House publication
A poet's refusal to "translate"
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