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Unhackled, drunk and mad to edit

August 4, 2006

It’s Friday and I feel like a poem. Many readers may know Malcolm Lowry from his 1947 work Under The Volcano which was rated one of the 100 greatest novels of the twentieth century. Lowry was also a poet and authored one of my favorite poems “We Sit Unhackled, Drunk and Mad to Edit” which I dedicate to Abel Pharmboy and his Friday Fermentable.

We Sit Unhackled, Drunk and Mad to Edit
Notions of freedom are tied up with drink.
Our ideal life contains a tavern
Where man may sit and talk or just think
All without fear of the nighted wyvern;
Or yet another tavern where it appears
There are no No Trust signs, no No Credit.
And, apart from the unlimited beers,
We sit unhackled, drunk and mad to edit
Tracts of a really better land where one
May drink a finer, ah, an undistilled wine,
That subtly intoxicates without pain,
Weaving the vision of the unassimilable inn
Where we may drink forever without owing
With the door open, and the wind blowing.

Of course, alcoholism killed Lowry, but “unhackled, drunk and mad to edit” so nicely describes the academic life that it would be a shame not to remember this poem.

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  1. August 4, 2006 at 11:24 am

    I wonder if there’s data out there anywhere about drinking among graduate students and other academics compared to the rest of the population, adjusted for age. I’d be curious to know!

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