Dorothy Parker calls the Poetry Crisis Line

ROBERT BENCHLEY (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
DOROTHY PARKER (caller): You come right over here and
BENCHLEY: We don’t do house calls.
PARKER: Explain
BENCHLEY: I can’t go there, but I can send an emergency poet–or the grammar police.
PARKER: Why they are having another year.
BENCHLEY: Would you rather be stuck in the previous one?


[from a telegram Dorothy Parker sent to Robert Benchley on December 31, 1929]

Costume Ideas for Poets Part 2: More Options for Women


Because a friend rightly pointed out that the last post didn’t offer a lot of options for women to choose from.

Dorothy Parker re-calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Razors pain you;

COUNSELOR: Did you cut yourself shaving? Is it a minor bleed or–

CALLER: Rivers are damp;

COUNSELOR: Right. A serious flow. Can you think clearly and follow directions?

CALLER: Acids stain you;

COUNSELOR: Are you on acid now, ma’am?

CALLER: And drugs cause cramp.

COUNSELOR: I wouldn’t worry about the cramps, just find something to stop the bleeding.

CALLER: Guns aren’t lawful;

COUNSELOR: No, I said to _stop_ the bleeding…

CALLER: Nooses give;

COUNSELOR: Also not great. Unless the bleeding is severe enough that you need a tourniquet.

CALLER: Gas smells awful;

COUNSELOR: I don’t know who farted, but that really should not be your concern right now.

CALLER: You might as well live.

COUNSELOR: I like your attitude. Say, is there any chance I might call you back and put you on the line with Sylvia Plath, the next time she calls?


COUNSELOR: Hello? Are you there?



Dorothy Parker calls the Poetry Crisis Line

STAFFER: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: A single flow’r he sent me,

STAFFER: Is that a problem?

CALLER: since we met.

STAFFER: I can see where that would be annoying. How long has it been?

CALLER: All tenderly his messenger he chose;

STAFFER: Yes, that could be a problem too, if he’s paying more attention to the delivery person.

CALLER: Deep-hearted,

STAFFER: How would he know about the messenger’s heart, exactly?

CALLER: pure,

STAFFER: Again, how would he know?

CALLER: with scented dew still wet –

STAFFER: Was she a bicycle messenger? They can get kind of sweaty.

CALLER: One perfect rose.

STAFFER: Now, now. I know you’re feeling neglected, but there’s no reason to get sarcastic about how the messenger smells.

CALLER: I knew the language of the floweret;

STAFFER: Wow. Can you teach me? I talk to the trees, but they never listen to me.

CALLER: ‘My fragile leaves,’ it said,

STAFFER: Sounds like a wimpy flower.

CALLER: ‘his heart enclose.’

STAFFER: OK, sounds like a creepy flower.

CALLER: Love long

STAFFER: Long is good. But I like all shapes and sizes.

CALLER: has taken

STAFFER: Wait, what? I know he’s taken. I’m not after your man.

CALLER: for his

STAFFER: Look lady, you called me. I’m not after your man for his money, not for his body, not for his–

CALLER: amulet

STAFFER: –Wait. Are you dating Doctor Strange? Because in that case I might be after your–

CALLER: One perfect rose.

STAFFER: You mean you’re actually dating a flower?

CALLER: Why is it no one ever sent me yet / One perfect limousine,

STAFFER: That would be hard to deliver by bicycle.

CALLER: do you suppose?

STAFFER: Well, yeah. Think about the logistics.

CALLER: Ah no,

STAFFER: Don’t worry. I’m sure they abandoned the concept before anyone got hurt in testing.

CALLER: it’s always just my luck to get / One perfect rose.

STAFFER: It’s not my job to judge your lifestyle choices. But if things get intimate, you may want to watch out for the thorns.


STAFFER: I mean, it’s not like being crushed under a limousine, but still…