Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Julian and Sandy

September 9, 2016

(Some coarse sexual slang, so it might not be to everyone’s taste.)

From the August issue (pp. 37-39) of The Advocate, “Speaking Lavender” by Chadwick Moore, about Bill Leap and the Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conferences (Lav Lgs 23 in February 2016 at American University, Washington DC; Lav Lgs 24 in April 2017 at the University of Nottingham (UK)), with the subtitle: “From Regency England to 1920s Harlem to Miss Piggy, gay vernacular has given voice to homosexual identity and desire in a hostile world. It still does.” and a section on Polari (and its scholar and champiom Paul Baker). Eventually the story leads us to the campy queens Julian and Sandy, and from there by sound associations to the remarkable entertainment (also campy) Façade, uniting the playful poetry of Edith Sitwell and the music of William Walton, notably in the “Valse” / “Waltz” movement beginning “Daisy and Lily”.

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How sweet the daphne smells

September 7, 2016

… and how poisonous it is.

A birthday present from Chris Waigl (plants and poetry, with something of an Edward Gorey twist) , this note:

I was thinking of you the other day when I remembered a little (somewhat twee) poem my mother liked. It’s from a German humorous herbarium (the book is called Heiteres Herbarium [‘Bright/Cheerful Herbarium’]) by someone with the extraordinarily Bavarian name Karl Heinrich Waggerl. The book’s still in copyright [and is described as lyric poetry], so there doesn’t seem to be much online. Apparently, it sold extremely well for a book of, at least on the surface, poetry.
The poem I was thinking of was about the pretty, traditionally medicinally used (and quite poisonous) Seidelbast (Daphne mezereum). Not native to the Americas and therefore not much talked about here. It has a ton (dozens) of common names in German. I knew it as Zeiland in Austria and Lorbeerkraut (lit. laurel herb) at home. Much lore and warnings. The poem is a warning, too, with a quasi-moral level of meaning and at the same time a … rhyme at the end that marks it as jocular.

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Gorey the illustrator

August 31, 2016

Just posted on Pinterest by Terry Castle, a set of nine book covers by Edward Gorey, illustrating the range of his work for Doubleday Anchor Books. Two examples here of books Gorey might have been expected to feel some association with, but there are also a number of books the company apparently just passed on to him:

(#1)

(#2)

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Osmunda, Königin des Waldes

August 29, 2016

Yesterday’s morning name, Osmunda (a genus of ferns), here understood as a central royal figure of an opera (like Die Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte) or an operetta (like Die Csárdásfürstin, Gräfin Maritza, or Die Zirkusprinzessin).

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Iatrogenic grammar sickness

August 28, 2016

From 8/26 on Lithub, “How a Self-Published Writer of Gay Erotica Beat Sci-Fi’s Sad Puppies at their Own Game”, by M. Sophia Newman:

When I was a little kid, my mother would come into the bedroom I shared with two of my sisters each night and read us a book before we slept. Inevitably, a minor fight would erupt over whose bed beside which Mom would sit

Another WTF moment, to go along with the moment of failed anaphoric reference in my posting of the 26th. In this case, it’s hard to believe that the boldfaced relative clause comes from a native speaker of English, but it was, by a professional writer, in fact — and that’s surely the source of the problem. (In contrast, the source of the problem in the anaphoric reference example is almost surely that its writer was unpracticed at the task.)

In brief, Newman would never have committed the bizarre strangulated relative clause above — let’s call it Hern — if she hadn’t been subjected to rotten advice about how to write and taken it to heart: she was told that stranded P (“ending with a preposition”) is a grammatical disorder, which can, fortunately, be treated by a simple procedure, fronting the P. That is, the putatively malformed relative clauses

which/that/∅ Mom would sit beside

(in the Strand family) should be remedied by relocating the P beside (to the front of the relative clause) and using the (prosthetic) relative pronoun which to support it. The result of this procedure  is the appalling Hern, actually a bit of sick grammar caused by ill-advised therapy: iatrogenic grammar sickness.

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Dress for success

August 15, 2016

Another item unearthed today: a collage of sorts (well, an altered poster) from 1998, amended by Chris Ambidge in 2000:

It’s all about clothing and displaying the body.

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Trapped in the morning duff

August 12, 2016

Morning names from the 9th: a pair you can get stuck in (the Great Grimpen Mire and the La Brea Tar Pits) and the noun duff referring to decaying vegetable matter.

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The old curiosity shelf

August 9, 2016

Art, crafts, bits of my life.

I’ve been sorting through things, clearing things out, all the while compressing three offices with five desks in them to one office with, well, three desks in it (desks have lots of useful drawers). So far I have given or thrown away an immense amount of memorabilia (including about half my collection of penguiniana), but I’ve also unearthed, or brought out of dark corners, assorted bits of artwork, silly stuff, personal treasures of Jacques’s and mine, and the like — and I now have some shelves and surfaces in visible spots where they can be displayed. My cabinets of curiosities, my old curiosity shelves, my shelves of wonder.

Here are two shelves (from a set of five) in the main room of my Ramona St. house. A somewhat dark photo (from Kim Darnell’s phone), but it will give you the idea:

(#1)

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Wild in the morning

August 8, 2016

Today’s morning name: Cimarron (from the American Spanish ‘wild, untamed’). A name that’s all over a swath of the U.S., in AR, AZ, CA, CO, KS, NM, OK, and TX, in the names of cities and towns and geographical features like rivers and mountains. The names were originally used for “wild” places and geographical features and for European-unsettled areas, in particular the Cimarron Territory, which gave its name to a 1929 novel by Edna Ferber and a celebrated 1931 movie.

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Instant Brexit porn

June 27, 2016

The vote was on the 23rd, results announced on the 24th, and by today flamboyant gay pornographer Chuck Tingle has exploited Brexit for queer ends in a 37-page Kindle book (available from Amazon in the U.K.):

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