Dear Mr. Homer (Sylvie Stein)

Dear Mr. Homer,

We would like to thank you for sending us your manuscript for your epic poem, although you insisted it was “better when you hear it aloud.” Unfortunately, we decided not to publish it, but we would like to provide you with our feedback for editing purposes.

We were interested in the character of Achilles, but unfortunately, we were disappointed that he only had one action sequence, which isn’t great for the movie rights. You have to give Michael Bay something to work with.

The text drags a little in the middle. We suggest you cut the battle scenes, and just summarize it with the good old, “and then a lot of people got gruesomely murdered.” Shorter novels can make for bestsellers!

The romance between Helen and Paris also could use some work. Keep in mind what any avid reader looks for in a book: softcore pornography. Though you did include a couple of ambiguous scenes in which Zeus “lay down with a maiden,” the average reader prefers more humping and pumping, if you know what we mean.

We hope you find these suggestions to be helpful, and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future. Next time, try some comedy, maybe?

Penguin Classics


Sylvi Stein (she/her) is an undergraduate at Columbia University. Her work has been published by Orotone Journal, AYASKALA Magazine, and Rattle, among others. In her spare time, Sylvi can be found wandering the aisles of used book stores, even though she has more than enough to read at home. Find her on Twitter @sylvir99.


image: MM Kaufman