Musician and artist Amanda Palmer is being assailed for “A Poem for Dzhokhar,” which she released Sunday, only two days after the capture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Palmer, who formerly sang for the Dresden Dolls, released the poem for free on her website on Sunday. In “A Poem for Dzhokhar,” Palmer appears to make an attempt at entering Tsarnaev’s mind, reading off a list of things that the 19-year-old bombing suspect likely did not know.
The poem reads, in part:
you don’t know how many vietnamese soft rolls to order.
you don’t know how convinced your parents were that having children would be, absolutely, without question, the correct thing to do.
you don’t know how precious your iphone battery time was until you’re hiding in the bottom of the boat.
you don’t know how to get away from your f**king parents.
you don’t know how it’s possible to feel total compassion in one moment and total disconnection in the next moment.
you don’t know how things could change so incredibly fast.
The poem’s seemingly sympathetic portrayal of the teen, who was charged Monday with federal crimes that could draw the death penalty, has sparked considerable outrage online. Palmer’s opus was labeled “the worst poem of all time” by Gawker. Complex called it “the absolute worst poem ever.” In short, not many people are happy about Palmer’s portrayal of Tsarnaev.
In response to her many critics, Palmer stated on Twitter that “A Poem for Dzhokhar” was about more than the Boston bombings suspect, though she declined to give a deeper reading of the poem on her Twitter feed.
“Now that everybody's panties are in a twist, i'd like to say: the poem is actually about more than you think it is. read it again,” Palmer tweeted.
Palmer’s supposed clarification did little to silence her critics.
Soon after Palmer issued her clarification, Gawker wrote that “A Poem for Dzhokhar” was, ultimately, not for Tsarnaev, but “for Palmer, a deluded and opportunistic narcissist who sells rhetorical snake oil to people too full of unearned self-regard to join an actual cult.”
This isn’t the first time one of Palmer’s artistic enveavors has drawn backlash. In 2012, Palmer raised $1.2 million through Kickstarter to support her latest album and tour. This was fine for many of Palmer’s critics, but when, several months later, she issued a call for musicians to perform on her latest tour for free, she received a large amount of criticism for allegedly taking advantage of aspiring musicians. Palmer’s accounting practices and handling of the Kickstarter funds were also called into question.