A review of the poem "The Dash" by Linda Ellis

Review by Professor Hugh Jorgan B.S., Phd. 

When I first read the poem "The Dash" by Linda Ellis I dismissed it as the naive musings of a young lady in her tween years composed of rainbows and glittery unicorns, metaphorically speaking. The message conveyed reminded me of every Miss America Pageant contestant who is asked what she wishes for and  the reply is, "world peace". I found it hard to believe that this piece of rubbish was deemed the crown jewel of the author's prose.  The cornerstone, as it was, on which to build a career.

While conversing on an unrelated topic with a colleague who visits cemeteries in his genealogy research, he informed me that a dash was most often only used when the years appear by themselves as on cheaper monuments. When  the month, day and year are carved on the headstone, they are side by side or above and below. This in itself was an interesting fact and then I heard of the lawsuits. Here is a woman who doggedly pursues even the tiniest infraction of the copyright laws.   Upon further examination of the verse, I saw it. This was not written as a exultation of a life lived but rather a dirge that laments all of mankind.  The dash represents the failure of the deceased to have accumulated enough worth to have a proper stone. Their descendants decided to spend some of that inheritance on a new car rather than a fitting memorial.

What I saw as poorly written with an uneven syllable count and unstructured prose is actually a commentary on the randomness  of the universe.  The author employs irony in writing a set of words  that do conflict with her actions. That was the final tell.  This poem is not a banal collection of lines, as I had previously thought, but a living, breathing work of art. Live art at its finest. The tenacity of bringing its readers to bear is her way of showing the greed and lack of compassion that is inherent in all mankind. 

Well played, Linda Ellis, well played. How you suffer for your art.
  When this masterpiece is completed I would very much like to present it to the young minds of my class. My department being of limited funds, I could not afford your fee to use this fine piece, nor would the Dean of English be happy to contend with a law suit .