Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ovid as oracle: Rachel Storch's political future

The other day I was wondering if State Senator Jeff Smith would still read Ovid in public at The Pulitzer with rumors of resignation, indictment and incarceration hounding him.

The answer is no.

According to the updated list, Smith has been replaced in the number five hole by a nobody named Matthias Waschek.

That's a joke. Waschek directs the place.

Unfortunately, in my sense of things, the director stepped into the embattled politicians' slot before I could talk my contact there into slipping in State Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, one of the presumed contenders for the throne if Smith does resign. The political set would have got the point.

The lineup already includes another player who might very well want the 4th Senatorial District job: State Rep. Rachel Storch. She reads not long before me, at 2:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Since my math and guesstimation were what told me - fatefully - that Smith would have read the Phaethon story about the reckless young man who tries to fly too high and flames out, I thought I'd try the same trick on Storch to see what she might be reading and how that augurs for her fate in this ever-changing world.

She reads 57th in a field of 74, putting her at .77 of the way through the poem; and since the poem is 299 pages long (in my edition of Rolfe Humphries' translation, which is far superior to the one The Pulitzer picked), Rachel should start reading at about 230 pages in.

Storch, the pig entrails of Ovid bode ill for you. Here, roughly, is where you will come in:
So Hymen left there, clad in saffron robe,
Through the great reach of air, and took his way
To the Ciconian country, where the voice
Of Orpheus called him, all in vain. He came there,
True, but brought with him no auspicious words,
No joyful faces, lucky omens. The torch
Sputtered and filled the eyes with smoke; when swung,
It would not blaze: bad as the omens were,
The end was worse, for as the bride went walking
Across the lawn, attended by her naiads,
A serpent bit her ankle, and she was gone.

If Jeff Smith is out, and Ovid is an oracle, then the smart money is on Nasheed in the 4th.


Storch pic from The Royale Flickr.

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