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I wish to thank you, for you publish what is, without a doubt, the greatest literary magazine currently in print. The Alembick has been my rock, my solace in these most difficult times.
As the father of three young lads (and never a more robust or enthusiastic trio you’ll find) I have my hands quite full with paternal duties. The confinement brought on by the recent plague has been, I confess, a shock to my nerves. No longer do young Robbie, Tommy, and Jim come home from school tired after a day of lessons and playing at recess with their little friends. Instead, they run riot in the house all day long, chasing each other about, bellowing like so many bulls, and kicking the cat.
You might expect that, after a day of punching, biting, and screaming, they’d be ready for a good kip in the evening. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bedtime brings its own set of horrors as the boys scramble about the room, half dressed, demanding that I read a story.
The other night, I acquiesced. I reached for Peter Pan, that beloved tale of my youth. Alas, it failed to relax the boys, instead providing yet more fodder for their imaginations. Not five minutes into the story, Jim fancied himself a crocodile and bit Robbie’s hand so hard that it bled, while Tommy became Peter Pan himself, leaping from bed to bed and stabbing at his brothers with a ruler.
I tried them on the classics, but these, too, they found stimulating. The moment I opened the Iliad, Robbie and Jim began playing at Achilles and Hector, Robbie dragging Jim around and around the room by his ankles. Shout though I might, nothing would quiet them down.
Finally, Sirs, in a fit of desperation, I reached for your Alembick. Hope had left me. I no longer had any thought of tiring my sons, only of seeking the solace of poetry in my dark hour of need. And yet… hope often appears in unlikely places.
I began to read Pinguis’s magesterial “Quantitative Verse for English” to them. “My primary intention in this essay,” I intoned, “is to convey a purely technical point…” No sooner did I begin than—O miracle!—I saw, from the corner of my eye, Robbie’s head begin to droop. By the time we began “Hearing Quantity,” I heard a great quantity of snores emanating from young Tommy. And when we began considering scantion of proclitics, little Jim had lain himself in bed and drifted off.
You have gained, noble Sirs, a lifelong subscriber. I have taken the liberty of recommending the Alembick heartily to all of our friends, and hope to buy an extra copy of the new issue to send to my brother. I thank you, Sirs, from the bottom of my heart.
With warmest gratitude,