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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Essay Questions for Bad Poetry

Today's edition of Essay Questions for Bad Poetry (see others here, here and here) features film star and all-around man-about-town Michael Madsen. Madsen is an accomplished poet. His work has appeared in Solider of Fortune Magazine, prison newsletters, and at Shakespeare & Company retailers. The poems have that hard-boiled style one might find at the bottom of a can of Old Milwaukee after a long day of phoning in a performance of a B-Movie.

He also has a collected works published. Buy it now!

His poem, for your educational enjoyment, is entitled Bullshit.


by Michael Madsen

Mankind's refusal to accept the result of their own folly

The Superego that thinks they know everything

about everything...

Based on theory, right?

The end of the bullshit would be welcome!

The empty eyes you see everyday on TV

and the quest for validation,

But it's validation of ignorance.

Loss of love,

Loss of reason,

Loss of Leave it to Beaver.

Major Nelson had a Jeannie, but we don't.

Question # 1 - Madsen begins this poem with the word "Mankind." He exempts women from this criticism. Explain how this advanced technique gets Madsen dates.

Question # 2 - He announces that the "end of bullshit would be welcome!" as the poem's centerpiece. Using Madsen's performance in the film BloodRayne as a foudation, mine this statement for irony.

Question # 3 - Madsen's tears TV a new one here. I mean, holy f*ck. Seriously, ouch, right? I mean, really...how can TV survive this brutal takedown? Instead of answering this rhetorical question, use this space for a diagram.

Question # 4 - Clearly, Madsen feels TV validates our ignorance. Then, he uses a reference to I Dream of Jeannie. Explain, in 50 words or less, what this says about the poem, the poet, and about I Dream of Jeannie?

Question # 5 - Respond to this statement: Madsen understands the Superego.

EXTRA CREDIT - Name Madsen's last five feature films without looking at IMDB.

EXTRA EXTRA CREDIT - Create a new word to describe the sensation of reading a poem by Michael Madsen.


bfuqua said...


Matthew Trumbull said...


Ian G said...

Man oh man. Until I clicked the Amazon link, I thought you were kidding.

By the way, may I recommend going to the Amazon page for this book and reading the customer reviews? They are bee-you-tiful. This is my personal fave rave:

"Take this from me, a person who really dislikes reading, this book is a must have!!!!!!!!!!!"

Say no more, satisfied reader. Say no more.

Matthew Trumbull said...

Wasn't he in Species?

Kim Wallace said...

I went to Madsen's website and heard his recitation of Tears. Assuming the veracity of the autobiographical detail in that work, I think it's quite an achievement that he rose above it to become a bad poet as opposed to a say, a serial killer.