That semester, the visiting chair in Contemporary American Poetics was actually a chair.

"I've got four legs and a straight back," she said. "So call me a formalist."

Though her real name was Susan, she called herself Patsy. It had been a long time since she'd been polished, but that made her more appealing. She was proud to be a functional chair, a chair among other chairs, and not one constructed by somebody famous enough to be a crossword puzzle answer.

"Ain't no museum piece ever got as much ass as me," she said, laughing at her own bad pun. Her narcissism was almost charming.

The 17 previous guest poets, all toxically self-involved, had been male humans, and they'd had sex with an average of 1.7 undergraduate writers, 1.9 graduate students, and 0.6 faculty members per semester.

I was the best boy poet in the program, so I took a run at Patsy. She was flattered but said that straight women poets didn't get groupies—something about the unerotic nature of an inverted gender power relationship—and that I was probably yet another MFA Romeo who was illiterate in bed.

Twelve years later, and nine years after I stopped writing poems, I went to hear her lecture about The Meaning of Poetry in the Internet Age. Ever the minimalist, she stood silently onstage for 37 minutes and then left for the after-party. There, I asked if she remembered spurning my sexual advances.

She laughed and said only sad people remembered their non-fucks. So, yeah, of course, she knew who I was, and to celebrate our reunion, she didn't fuck me again. recommended