@ 27.105 MHz: Vignettes; Research Advice From By Zeph Zuilderzee, PhD, LitD, Mid-Spring, 1977

You wish to research Manicule Turbo's

masterwork called Collections And Collations:

Homogenous Erotic Poetry

requires some labor, as this old man knows.

A sincere freshman's efforts will suffice

to surmount certain old prudes' prejudice

that singe like lava or freeze flesh like ice

repeating platitudes too scurilous,

with an agenda flatly obvious:

stand firm---dismiss their hatred with a laugh.

I recommend the foremost monograph

of Taphess Gibler---A Brief Commentary

On Manicule Tabor's Anthology:

his knowledge his really extraordinary---

one of our field's superlative summations.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

 Sadly, I must confess that I allowed the prejudices and hatreds of that time and place to deter me from my research, primarily the fear of parental disapproval and the discouragement of my major department.  Although supposedly a citadel of the Liberal Arts, the campus and the social structure of student life, there and then, was rigidly biased against any violation of its binary expectations.  Certain friendships, affections, and desires were excluded from acceptance and, sometimes, actively persecuted, and even (though rarely) assaulted.  Those who were victimized by this quickly learned that verbal injury sometimes hurt as much as a contusion. 


Manicule Turbo was one of the last Roman scholars, active in the twilight of the Empire, a pupil---supposedly much favored---of Valerius Pompeius Julius Ibidus (see H. P. Lovecraft's essay, "Ibid"); a teacher of poetry in the ancient city of Alexandria, where pleasures (both literary and erotic; cf. the poems of Constantine Cavafy) insulated the more senstivie (and, some would say, sensual) from the political vagaries between Rome and Constantinople.  According to two experts, Zeph Zuilderzee and Taphless Gibler, Manicule Tabor collected many erotic poems---especially the homoerotic, and even more especially the homoerotic epigrams of Rhianus---that were later included in the earliest massive collection that became, through centuries of consideration and emendation, The Palatine Anthology, especially the twelfth book---which was subsequently subjected to the cruelest and most ignorant excisions and purgations.  Two nineteenth century scholars, Littlewit and Betenoir, independently attempted to dispute this connection to the Anthology; but their assertions have been deflated, and their biased agenda demonstrated, by more recent scholars, most pointedly (and, some have said, ferociously) by Taphless Gibler himself; and Gibler's work remains undisputed and unoverturned. 


The astute reader may appreciate this worthwhile fact, that Manicule Turbp dedicated the grand product of his life's work to his lover, the beautiful Coptic boy, Yared, who is mentioned in the dedication and in several of the scholia with which Manicule Turbo glossed and interpreted the poems he loved so well and so long.  One can only imagine the conversations they shared---pillowtalk on sulty Alexandrian nights, with the candles' light allowed to expire, and the stars' glow shimmering through an aperture, after the exquisite exertions and satisfactions of love.


I thank Zeph Zuilderzee for granting me permission, some years ago, to versify his written reply to the written inquiry I had sent him in the early spring of 1977; which was for me, then a confirmed nerd, a season unsually warm days and occasional misty, temperate rains, and of baggy blue jeans, flipflops only when surfaces required, and pleasant barefoot walks to classes and to the classical section of the college's library.

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patriciajj's picture

Any work that can "surmount

Any work that can "surmount certain old prudes' prejudice" must certainly be worth reading (preferably with someone special as the the stars' glow is "shimmering through an aperture").  Skillfully written and informative recommendations followed by some riveting commentary. Very enjoyable. 

Starward's picture

Thank you very much for that

Thank you very much for that comment, and for your understanding of the poem.


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