Archive for the ‘Poetic form’ Category

The names of birds

May 4, 2015

In the May 2nd issue of New Scientist, a piece “The Impersonators” by Daniel Cossins, about birds mimicking all sorts of sounds. It’s full of wonderful names of birds (mimics and those mimicked) from around the world:

the greater racket-tailed drongo, the forked-tailed drongo, orange-billed warblers, ashy-headed laughing-thrushes, southern pied babblers, the cape glossy starling, the superb fairy wren

The drongos are the stars here.

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A playful poetic footnote

April 26, 2015

In my “More detection” posting, we came across writer E. C. Bentley, with fame in two areas. From Wikipedia:

E. C. Bentley (full name Edmund Clerihew Bentley; 10 July 1875 – 30 March 1956) was a popular English novelist and humorist of the early twentieth century, and the inventor of the clerihew, an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical topics.

… His detective novel, Trent’s Last Case (1913), was much praised, numbering Dorothy L. Sayers among its admirers, and with its labyrinthine and mystifying plotting can be seen as the first truly modern mystery. It was adapted as a film in 1920, 1929, and 1952. The success of the work inspired him, after 23 years, to write a sequel, Trent’s Own Case (1936). There was also a book of Trent short stories, Trent Intervenes.

… From 1936 until 1949 Bentley was president of the Detection Club.

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Underground Mastodon

April 25, 2015

From Sim Aberson, this tile from the NYC subway, at the 81st Street – Museum of Natural History Station:

(#1)

That’s the American mastodon. And this is a marker for an underground mastodon (note nice double dactyl: Higgledy piggedy / Undergound mastodon …).

A few words about mammoths and mastodons.

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The end of March

March 23, 2015

Today’s Frazz:

Ok, buh-bye is indeed an iamb, but it’s not a lamb. Anyway, the end of March is eight days away.

Snowy lanes

December 21, 2014

For the Winter Solstice, a snowy parody starring Zippy:

(#1)

Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, taken into many strange places: Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, Skeeball, Fleer’s Dubble Bubble gum, a gondolier, William Blake’s poetry, a strip mall, Joe Biden (Vice President of the U.S.), and a laundromat.

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On the portmanteau beat

October 7, 2014

Today’s Zippy:

A complex portmanteau in the last panel: marshmallegro has all of marshmallow and all of allegro in it (thus combining the otherwise disparate marshmallow-toasting and musical-tempo themes), but the shared material — /ælo/ — is discontinuous, first /æl/ in the middle of the portmanteau, then /o/ at the end. (The portmanteau is also prosodically pleasing: a double trochee, S W / S W, which could easily be set to music.) (more…)

A dogmanteau

October 6, 2014

From Chris Waigl on Facebook, this entertaining composition:

 

[Corrected from an earlier version, with thanks to Chris W.]

A complex portmanteau of labrador (retriever) + abracadabra (the magician’s incantation), with the first more or less wrapped around the second. And, as Chris pointed out, also a double dactyl,

S W W / S W W

John Lawler commented, “Pretty alabrate setup.”

(As with most of these compositions, I have no idea who originally created it.)

[Addendum: obviously, the dogs are not labs, but (Siberian) huskies — probably, as Chris W. suggests to me, because of the enormous number of husky images available on the net. But the joke would be better with actual labs.]

Commercial portmanteau

May 19, 2014

From Ryan Tamares recently, a piece of a Subway Flatizza box. The box woudn’t scan for me, but what it says is Flatizza™:  “Cheesy & delicious meets crispy & square” (easily readable as tetrameter, with front-accented feet). Square flatbread with pizza toppings: cheese, pepperoni, spicy Italian, veggie.

Flatizza is of course a portmanteau of flatbread (contributing flat-) and pizza (contributing -izza), without overlap between the two parts.

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Medicinal meter

May 3, 2014

For some years, I’ve been taking a diuretic with a long name that lots of people, including some medical personnel, have trouble pronouncing, though I don’t. What works for me is that the name is in trochaic tetrameter (with a final short foot):

hydrochlorothiazide: HY dro CHLo ro THI a ZIDE

Trochaic tetrameter is the meter of most English folk verse (folk songs, nursery rhymes, etc.), many advertising slogans, sayings, and more. People didn’t frame these with the trochaic tetrameter pattern in mind; they chose expressions according to what “sounded good” to them — that is, according to an implicit or unconscious aesthetic.

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Mole Vole

April 25, 2014

Posted on Facebook by Jeff Shaumeyer:

 

Jeff writes:

Here’s an interior shot at Bowen’s Farm Supply. I took it mostly because I was moved by the poetry of the phrase “Mole Vole Rodent Control”.

The sort of expression that Zippy the Pinhead is inclined to treat as a mantra, repeating it over and over to savor it.

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