Listen up, Lit-buffs: There’s no reason revered writers should have less name recognition than their counterparts in other art forms. It’s time we plagiarized the celebrity chefs’ playbook and got competitive. That’s right. Reality television. With the right backers, we can make Marie Howe a household name. So take these hit shows to your nearest Hollywood executive: they’re free for the pitching!
So you think you can enJAMb?
Hosted by Erica Jong
Blonde bombshell Erica Jong hosts this wild enJAMb-off judged by Billy Collins, Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, and you! Each week, contestants strut their verse-atile stuff by practicing and performing a new poetic form, from the sexy sonnet to the raucous rondeau. Then you call our free verse-line to vote for your favorites! The contestants with the most votes will enJAMb on— to compete the following week.
Hosted by Harold Bloom
In this spin-off series based on The Anxiety of Influence, emerging writers battle the canonical fixtures of Agon Stadium—Shakespeare, Milton, and others—to develop an original thought. Whose misreading will reign supreme? Past contestants have included Coleridge, Whitman, and Stevens with Harold Bloom serving as both host and sole celebrity judge. An imposing cardboard cutout of Sigmund Freud introduces a secret theme ingredient each week—such as “love” or “death”—about which contestants must say something new.
Hosted by David Sedaris
Contestants design scholarly, journalistic, and creative nonfiction pieces tailored to the measurements of their assigned Magazine Model’s word count and other submission parameters. They must charm a panel of celebrity editors by walking a thin stylistic runway of, for instance, rhetorical flourish without insight, plausible yellow journalism, or elitism with popular appeal. David Sedaris offers critiques and encouragement: “Make it marketable!”
Meaghan Russell was just startled by a boxelder that flipped from her poetry notebook, unfazed, and without comment. She wears boots.