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Ask the Feed: Agony Aunt Uses the Word “Mash-Up” to Help a Student Cite the Feed, MLA-style

December 7, 2010

Last week-end, no one sent in this email, though there was exactly one Feed reader who could have:

Dude, just wanted to let you know I listened to that poem, All-American Sestina 40 times last Saturday.  Basically had it memorized but just kept clicking and listening again.  Now it’s like after playing Tetris, I can’t stop imagining all these numbers and American things.

Dear Frequent Listener:

Forty?! Did you spill a caffeinated drink in the hard drive with all your white noise mp3s? Does Karsten’s reading voice lure the vermin away from your study carrel?  Or, no, here’s my guess: finals week and an essay in your Introduction to Literature class.

Well, if that post helps you earn your A this semester, fantastic!  And if you’re the person of integrity whom you fancy yourself to be–and you do seem alright (40 listens!)–that means citing this blog among your sources.

You’ve probably already checked your writer’s handbook or Purdue’s OWL website for usable examples, and you’re still wondering: What are the poems posted here?  Are they “blog postings”?  “Sound recordings”? “Digital files”?  Is this a “website”? “A page on a website”? Well, yes.  A digital file of a sound recording (of a previously published poem by a different author!) posted to a page on a site. When it comes to documenting its parts, the internet is Ouroboros ever vomiting his tail back up again, and that almost seems like too much trouble to bother with.

Fortunately, the authorities propose a mash-up.  In her Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers, Lynn Quitman Troyka notes that “[n]ot every possible documentation model is shown…you may find you have to combine features of models to document a particular source.” So, a drib of one sort of entry and a drab of another results in something like this:

Mayers, Florence Cassen.  “All-American Sestina.”  Perf. Karsten Piper.  Belly Up, It’s a Poetry Feed.  4 Jul. 2010. Web. 4 Dec 2010.

Type that up with a hanging indent and you’re good to go.  The poet and poem get credit up front for the help they’ve been to you, and the performer and blog get their pats on the back, too.  Your own reader can track his or her way back here to the blog, as well through the links in the post to the published poem itself.

And you?  You come out shining: An academically do-right guy with pleasingly recherche taste in blogs?  I’m sure there’s one nice girl on campus who’s paying attention.  Ask her out on a date this weekend, after you finish your essay.

Helpfully, Poetry Feed’s own Agony Aunt

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter M permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:48 pm

    Agony Aunt should do more guest posts!

  2. December 8, 2010 5:01 pm

    I’m sure she’d love to. I’ll let her know. 😉

    Actually, I think it would be really fantastic to keep our Agony Aunt busy with poetry questions from real readers. Click one of the email links and send ’em in any time!

    Cheers, KP


  1. “All-American Sestina,” by Florence Cassen Mayers | Belly up, it's A Poetry Feed.

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