Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Poets in Their Youth

February 28, 2015

Recently reissued: Eileen Simpson’s 1982 Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir (Random House), a wonderful recollection of poets John Berryman, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, Delmore Schwartz and others in their circle (R. P. Blackmur, Jean Stafford, and more).

(On the cover: a young Berryman, Stafford, and Lowell in Damariscotta Mills ME.)

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Façade

January 15, 2015

Following my posting on perilla and phonologically similar words, I was playing with Camilla Perilla and sashimi and that’s my spicy duchess hanging on the wall scooby dooby, and I caught an echo of

Daisy and Lily,
Lazy and silly,
Walk by the shore of the wan grassy sea

The “Valse” from Façade, which I seem not to have posted about before.

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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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Verbing awry

December 12, 2014

(Warning: sexually explicit language. Not for kids or the modest.)

Passed on by Robert Coren, this message from the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety:

Looks like they were aiming for the verbing jerk ‘be a jerk, be an obnoxious person’, but missed the potential ambiguity with the jerk of the sexual idiom jerk off ‘jack off, masturbate’.

[Correction: it seems I was wrong about the SDOHS’s intentions, though the ambiguity problem remains. Reader isotopeblue writes:

Actually, if you go to http://www.drivesafesd.com/, it appears they’re concerned with jerking the wheel, not verbing the noun “jerk” for an aggressive driver.]

[Further developments: Chris Ambidge on Facebook reports that they’ve pulled the ad.”Officials have admitted that the double entendre was intentional”, with this news report:

public safety campaign in South Dakota backfired when officials heard its “Don’t Jerk and Drive” push and forced them to pull the ad.
Officials admitted the double entendre was intentional, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader reported in its story.
The campaign was based on raising awareness of jerking the steering wheel on icy roads. But, “jerk” also has other sexual meanings.
Department of Public Safety Secretary Trevor Jones said in a statement that he pulled the ad. “This is an important safety message, and I don’t want this innuendo to distract from our goal to save lives on the road.”

Several readers have noted that the story is a lot less fun if the double entendre was intentional.]

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I hurt myself today

November 24, 2014

(about words and music)

Several weeks ago I played a compilation of songs from Johnny Cash’s last album (American IV: The Man Comes Around, 2002) for a friend who didn’t know it — a compilation I put together for another friend who’s a great fan of Cash’s. Cash’s songs are covers, and I matched his versions (full of loss and regret, sung plain and clear) to earlier models. Item 1: “Hurt”, from Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral, with Trent Reznor’s poetic text maintained exactly (except for a shift of Reznor’s crown of shit in verse 2 to the explicitly Christian crown of thorns). Now a visit to the compilation.

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Drunk on words, and a lot of whiskey

October 28, 2014

From the New York Times yesterday, “In Wales, a Toast to Dylan Thomas on His 100th Birthday” by Katrin Bennhold:

Laugharne [pronounced LARN], Wales — Down the footpath from his writing shed, along the curve of the water and up the hill, you see what the poet Dylan Thomas once saw: tall birds on the “heron priested shore,” a “sea wet church the size of a snail” atop the ridge, the castle ruin to your left still “brown as owls.”

… Thomas died young, at 39, after boasting that he had downed 18 straight whiskeys (“I believe that’s the record”) in New York in 1953. On Monday, he would have turned 100. His small country, long ill at ease with its hard-living, hard-loving son who wrote in English, not in Welsh, and caricatured his roots as much as he claimed them, is celebrating perhaps its greatest poet.

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Mashup

August 16, 2014

Today’s Zippy, on musical mashups:

 

The third panel veers into a Zippy favorite, Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL, in a parody version.

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Yesterday’s anniversaries

August 10, 2014

Yesterday, August 9th, was the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resigning the Presidency of the United States. And the New York Times had an appreciation of Frank O’Hara’s “Lunch Poems”, which was first published in 1964 and has now been reissued by City Lights. A startling juxtaposition of personalities: the awkward, often surly, and fiercely ambitious politician Nixon versus the charming and gregarious poet, with his great gift for friendship.

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Outsiders

May 14, 2014

On May 2nd on the Everyday Feminism site, “Why Grammar Snobbery Has No Place in the Movement” by Melissa A. Fabello, presenting the customary linguists’ arguments that non-standard, regional, informal, etc. variants are not failed attempts to produce the formal written standard variety, but are instead features of alternative linguistic systems, each appropriate to certain social contexts — and moving on from that linguistic point to the wider sociopolitical point that these features should not be used as weapons against those who customarily employ the features; they are not failed citizens because they deviate from the use of formal standard written features in all contexts.

Fabello goes on to quote a moving poem by Aysha Syed on the matter.

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Modern Diner

November 9, 2013

Today’s Zippy, with yet another diner:

(#1)

That’s the Modern Diner in Pawtucket. Then there’s the allusion to the limerick beginning “There once was a man from Nantucket”.

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