Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary are two of the Romantic-era writers the Blacktip Island Poetry Society hopes to clone for their new Iambic Park interactive attraction. (engraving by George J. Stodart)
A consortium of Blacktip Island genetics experts and literary aficionados have launched a project to clone multiple British Romantic writers to more-fully study their works, the project’s leaders announced Thursday.
“It’ll be like Jurassic Park, but with 200-year-old poets,” Blacktip Island Poetry Society president Edwin Chub said. “It’ll literally bring poetry to life. We’ll keep them in a compound, down south, by the Last Ballyhoo bar, so we can have easy access to study them. We’ll also allow interested scholars and tourists in, for a fee. We’re calling it Iambic Park.
“We chose the Brit Roms due to access to DNA,” Chub said. “Mary Shelley saved Percy’s heart, so we’re going to use tissue from that as a starting point. If this works, we’ll be able to get first-hand insight into their creative processes. With any luck, they’ll even write some new poems while we watch in real time.”
Local scientists say the project is not a farfetched as it sounds.
“With just a scrap of Percy Shelley’s DNA, we can clone him in a heartbeat,” Tiperon University-Blacktip genetics professor Vera Cuda said. “We’ll prove the naysayers wrong once and for all. And with his wife hoarding that heart for so long, there’s undoubtedly some of her DNA there as well. It’s a two-for, really.
“We’re also tracking down genetic samples from other artists of that period to fulfill the BIPS vision,” Cuda said. “We have some excellent leads on DNA from Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Byron. The home run sample would be from William Blake, but that may not be possible. We have our best people on it, though.”
Island residents support the idea.
“It’ll be way cool to hang out with John Keats,” Alison Diesel said. “Or just to be chased by young, consumptive men shouting in terza rima. English classes would’ve been so gnarly if this’d been around back in the day.
“I’m betting there’ll be lots of lolling and languishing involved, too,” Diesel said. “That fits right in on Blacktip. I bet Keats’ll write some kind of ‘Ode to a Booby Bird.’
Others noted the connection between the Romantic-era poets and the small Caribbean island.
“Byron didn’t die in Greece. No, sir,” local handyman Antonio Fletcher said. “He faked that to get creditors off his tail, and set sail for the West Indes. Final resting place’s right here on Blacktip. Tore the place up back then. Bringing him back’ll be . . . well, bringing him back.
“Jurassic Park was really just Frankenstein, y’know,” Fletcher said. “Mad scientist creates life with no thought of the consequences, things get out of hand, and the creation gets called a monster when it’s really the scientist who’s the baddie. That’s the worry with bringing Byron back. Island barely survived his time here once. Lock up your daughters. And sons. And livestock.”