Amway-style poetry samples

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A Bible Salesman

An experiment with poetical ablation, Amway-styled ( poetry samples were developed by Jorge Suarez as early as 1955 but elaborated significantly by Stimes Addisson in the early 1960's in what he referred to as "basically time off . . . in that my wife kicked me out." Purvey of the young, this method of literary distribution is nearly identical to the distribution of vacuums and religious tracts so popular in the previous decade of Poob Culture, the main product of which is the travelling salesman -- a source of endless myth and everpresent vaporic construction. In later years, Addisson would elaborate endlessly on this theme.

The Charming Luncheonette

A loosely-strung network of poets distributed and sometimes actually sold poetry this way across 13 major American cities in 1963 and 1964. The origin was simple. Suarez had asked: What if one went door to door selling epic poems with selected strophes, stanzas and spondules, samples, in other words, which would induce someone to buy the whole, predicated upon the promise of a good read? What if, indeed? Stimes took these musings from the theoretical into the realm of the actual, organizing the network, developing the pamphlets and designing the presentation cases used by his team.

Beginning to End

Addisson himself did legwork for a few weeks in 1963. He went door to door through the suburbs of Chicaco with a briefcase full of pamphlets and weird product descriptions. He made 300 dollars and got laid twice. After his brief run he decided to coordinate operations from within the AA bunker near Oswego, NY.

Young Bucks with Sample Cases

As recently as 2004, youthful hipsters in Brooklyn adopted this style of poetry delivery as their own. The primary benefit of the procedure was to "make money without feeling crass and to make an ironic comment on the nature of the 'culture unit,' i.e., the 'work of art,' as a commodity," according to editor Raif Whitlow, of Venison Magazine. The fad ended when a young hipster got his head kicked by a drunken Polish dockworker in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn. As he was led away by the police, the man was screaming something unintelligle about "stupid fuckin' t-shirts and high rent." Needless to say, not many were that eager for a laugh and a buck and most soon turned to foam and mesh trucker caps.

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A bleezy Lou Reed once claimed that The Mothers of Invention stole their lyrics from Amway-style poetry samples they found in a Bancock garbage can. The MOI dismiss this as toomic chatter.