Dear Mr. Burnshaw,
I’ll represent VisionListen for your presentation, “Walking and Poetry.” It’s regrettable that we haven’t spoken beforehand, but seeing as I’m here and you’ve already begun, I’ll just start taking notes. I’ll email you observations tonight so you get feedback while it’s still fresh. The point of your presentation seems to be: walking equals thinking. Satisfactory.
You pronounce “sour,” then try again and it becomes clear that you meant “sorrow,” which in context makes better sense. Thanks for the clarification. I’ve been here maybe five minutes and you’ve miss-said quite a few words. I’m not picking nits but I’m getting distracted by your blunders. You say “imprison,” meaning “impression. You sputter “idom” or something close to it, I think meaning “idiom,” then “mermaid,” meaning “murmur,” which makes me smile. Soon after, impressively discussing something that is “triangulated,” you precisely enunciate “allegorical pilgrimages.” That’s a monumental mouthful! The gist is blurred. It could be your accent or poor elocution, but while birthing “intentional direction” I think you said “Nintendo.” Take note.
“A walk made of words” is lovely. “Faceful,” though, is troubling. You quickly correct it with “fateful,” but the damage is done. If I wondered what Freud would’ve thought of your “imprison” slip, imagine the conclusions he’d be jumping to now—a faceful in prison. Excellent imagery. Must be forty minutes in by now. Small wonder the audience is fidgeting. Still, I’m too easily seduced by all of your accurately pronounced words! Even in that nasal monotone. You quote A.R. Ammons’s “Corson’s Inlet.” Good choice. You mention how he was, and presumably you were, and I guess by affiliation I am, “released from rigidity of thought,” which blows me clean away.
I’m hungry. Had only a panino prior to kickoff. Good thing “lost Eden of childhood” pulls me back in just as you smile into the onslaught of the self-obsessed flinging questions your way. I’m not paid for this portion. As I near the exit you quote Plato, “Thinking always gives me a headache.” Apt. I hope this objective feedback is helpful. Expect a bill in the mail. I’ll be present next Tuesday at the Harvard Club when you address the Association of North American Walking Stick Enthusiasts, New York State Chapter.
On behalf of the entire VisionListen family, great speech.
Noah F. Grossman
Noah F. Grossman writes a blog for a start-up in New York, where he lives. His work can be found in Prick of the Spindle, Stretching Panties, Assembly Journal and McSweeney’s. Click here to visit his website.