from Crime and Punishment: A Zombie Poem

This might be my favorite one so far!

My department is experimenting with using The Zombie Poetry Project in its recruiting efforts, so I’m finding short literary quotes for prospective students to zombify. Here’s a zombie of an excerpt from a translation of Crime and Punishment.


Thought wanted to speak but could not;
pieces stood in the way; the dust
flashed when she snapped her rag.

Sky grew both pale and sudden; but parent
fear began bright with the dawn of a new
future, brushing the gray mystery.

Churches were renewed by a tree trunk;
your flashing screen held the fields
of the fort where rains pour

with the fat of the other.

And here’s the original quote:

“They wanted to speak, but could not; tears stood in their eyes. They were both pale and thin; but those sick pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love; the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.”

‪#‎zombiepoetry‬ ‪#‎poetryapocalypse‬

My essay “My Magpie Mind,” first published in december, was named a notable essay in the 2016 Best American Essays. This marks the second year in a row for me (“My Two Emilys” was named to the 2015 volume), which tells me I should write more essays with “My” in the title!





It’s a Zombie Cyber Thing

So that’s it. And you know cyber is becoming
so real today. It’s showing rice and soy
and corn, that a number of blackbirds
by the roadside of years ago weren’t even

movement. And always the heavy-handed school,
which he points out is so big. And parents
know laughter. Look at what birds’re doing
with these farms, how sky’s taking

and rolling your rearview mirror through the
Internet. And part of it is hearts and minds
because the tangible side thinks
they’re surfacing. Any slave

knows there’s sunlight. Code — Where CNN
blinked out with the world. Golden fuel –
Came out today that Trump is taking.
Skunk’s a teacher — you know. Field’s school

head. I know that for a fact because people
they didn’t call teacher yesterday they’re
calling me today. So that’s our bright screen?

Here’s the original quote:

“Well, that’s it. And you know cyber is becoming so big today. It’s becoming something that a number of years ago, short number of years ago, wasn’t even a word. And now the cyber is so big. And you know you look at what they’re doing with the Internet, how they’re taking and recruiting people through the Internet. And part of it is the psychology because so many people think they’re winning. Any you know, there’s a whole big thing. Even today’s psychology — where CNN came out with a big poll. Their big poll came out today that Trump is winning. It’s good psychology, you know. It’s good psychology. I know that for a fact because people they didn’t call me yesterday, they’re calling me today. So that’s the way life works, right?”

‪#‎zombiepoetry‬ ‪#‎poetryapocalypse‬

A Zombie Poem in Honor of Trump’s Dip Down South

The Wall

I will build a new tyranny. Though the world
Builds innocents better than me,

believe my rage. And I’ll build it all alone.
Tyranny will build a great wall

on a head of fire, and Mexico will pay
for your sleep. Mark the sorrow.

Here’s the original, in case you’ve forgotten…

“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

#zombiepoetry #poetryapocalypse


Back-to-School Zombie Haiku!

Teachers: Have your students zombify a single sentence from a famous source as the first line of a new poem. Or have them zombify their own drafts as a strategy for revision!


My hands are all here; Mind is heedless in its old way.


“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” —LEO TOLSTOY


The past is the place we are

or are not watched; they do

newness differently now.


“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”  —L. P. HARTLEY


It was the great house he had built;

the rain seemed in the kind of place

you like — except at this thought

and here, dancing, the scanty flame

of family.


“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” —EDWARD GEORGE BULWER-LYTTON

‪#‎zombiepoetry‬ ‪#‎poetryapocalypse‬

from the Futurist Manifesto — A Zombie Poem

by Zombie f.t.

We will sing of shooting crowds excited
by work, by their pleasure and by our pain; We will
sing of the civility of two girls who ought

to be in school heading toward a flat house
in the safe capitals. We will sing
of pink building fronts, of arsenals

and shipyards smelling of solitary
trees — solitary trees — a straw militia
man hung on sight seen by the treetops

of their smoke; the town; the church;
a patch bridled by this particular breeze;
and code.


See the original and more at

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From a Young Age

From walls — the dust impressed
on me nothing. Wood broke and showed
the kudzu that went from their tops

in their daily lives. That is a cotton
bandage that I continue to pass
along to our son. And we need to pass

those lessons on for a patrol to follow.
Because we want our children
under a tree trunk that must have sprouted

and fallen long after little Sammy.


Here’s the…um…original excerpt:
“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
                                                                                               –Melania Trump

A Zombie Norton Anthology

Just added Ralph Waldo to the 19th century anthology. Here’s a zombified excerpt from “The Poet”:


There is no man who does not anticipate
joy and sorrow in the earth, orderly rows,
and lean lunches in that dive. These stand
and wait to render him the fates

they’d fled. But there is amazement
or some excess of phlegm in the gutter.
Somewhere feeble fall the impressions
of the sky on us to make us an old skein.

Night should thrill. The fields
should be so much to an artist that skunk
could report our common sorrows.

See the original and more at

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Zombie William Blake!!!

Infant Sorrow

Entirely lucky, my father said.
(Into that night, glitter the young.)
Like a fiend in photons late,

grooving in earth, stretching against dust
and bits, bound and heedless, I cried:
Best to sulk upon the world.


Infant Joy

I have common sorrows. What shall silence call
tyranny? I, happy, am tears — A hurricane
befall thee! Entirely treacherous,
The route; Error dost smile; I sing.

The moment befall thee.

Post-Game Comments: A Zombie Poem

by Zombie Curry

We had the thought. Sprung the huffing
wind. Many blues. It hurts — desperate blues.
I mean, that’s a match. Rage of the names.

It was not orderly what we accomplished,
and it’s not will. Well, got to just take
the empty with the bad.

“We had a great regular season. Did something no team’s done before. Fell short in the last game of the season. It hurts, man. I mean, that’s all I’m really kind of marinating on right now. Just proud of every single guy that stepped foot on the floor for our team this year. It wasn’t easy what we accomplished, and it’s not an easy pill to swallow what we didn’t accomplish. So got to just take the good with the bad.”