Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm not quite dead...

There's just one problem with Billy Collins's "What if St. Sebastian didn't die from his arrow wounds?" poem on page 88 of the October 8 New Yorker:

St. Sebastian didn't die from his arrow wounds.

The funny thing is, I don't usually read the poems. But my radar went off, I guess: another knowing reference to the trappings of religion that turns out to be not-so-knowing. And as you know, when it comes to The New Yorker, no nit is too small for me to pick! I indulged my pedantic side further at dotCommonweal.

P.S. This reminds me of the not-quite-right Christmas card illustration I noted a few years ago.

UPDATE, 10/25: Marissa Bidilla has discovered another problem with Collins's poem -- or at least an earlier version of exactly the same mistake. And this time it's Tom Stoppard whose cleverness has gotten ahead of his research.

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