Mischa Willett

I’m a literature professor by day, and a poet only in the off- or early- hours, so I hear a lot of excuses. Students will spend more time making elaborate excuses for why they didn’t complete an assignment sometimes than the assignment itself would have taken. I’m actually stunned at the inventiveness and range of deaths, spills, sleepings-in, technology failures, and younger-sibling sports tourneys that many of these newly minted adults feel qualify them for extra time on assignments with a 2-month lead. People are great.

As you may have discerned, I don’t like excuses, though I make them myself all the time. What powers of persuasion I suddenly accrue to myself when I don’t want to go to the gym! In the poem published here, I, while procrastinating from my real work, had read a news story about some atrocity (it’s worth googling) and thought how casually the powerful dismiss the human chaff they must wade through. I see it all the time: in the way pretty girls cast aside their suitors like super-villans, in the way my rich neighbors treat their house staff, in The Tale of Two Cities. Anyway, it sickens me, but intrigues just as well. I found a stick and started poking at it, which is basically what I do in my book Phases: scratch and pull and worry and wonder.

What else are any of us with pencils actually doing?

My website: MischaWillett.com