Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

BILLY COLLINS Billy Collins

July 31, 2018

Not just any Billy Collins, but Billy Collins Billy Collins — prototypical Billy Collins, the Billy Collins. Who I’m posting about here because one of his poems prominently features the morphological construction Contrastive Focus Reduplication, or CFR (which I’m going to cite in a forthcoming posting about two New Yorker cartoons on dating).

(more…)

Swiss spin-off: Wallisellen

June 27, 2018

The town of Wallisellen in Canton Zürich, Switzerland, has just come up again on this blog (in the posting “Three Züricher Peter Zwickys”), as the site of the Zwicky silk-thread company and now the Zwicky construction and real estate company. Two notable things about the place (from its Wikipedia page): the etymology of its name, which looks like a compound (and is), but without easily identifiable parts; and a Swiss German nonsense rhyme that incorporates the town’s name.

(more…)

Typewriter poets

June 1, 2018

The Zippy from the 30th, with the Dingburg School of beatnik typewriter poets:

They compose on their typewriters, creating poetic texts that are (to the untrained eye) just strings of characters. Their names are absurd combinations of words Bill Griffith finds attractive or risible: Feldspar Hatband, Mulch Onionskin. (I am especially fond of feldspar myself, have been for years.)

(more…)

Spoiling

May 8, 2018

An AMZ poetry moment.

From the New York Times Magazine, Terrance Hayes’s Poem column: “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth” (in print 5/6, on-line 5/4), by Aimee Nezhukumatathil:

Too many needles spoil the cloth.
Too many parrots spoil the talk.
Too many chapped lips spoil the gloss.
Too many teasel burs spoil the paw.
Too many bubbles spoil the froth.
Too many doorbells spoil the knock.
Too many seeds spoil the floss.
Too many feathers spoil the claw.
Too many lightbulbs spoil the moth.
Too many holes spoil the sock.
Too many sunbeams spoil the moss.
Too many kisses spoil the jaw.
Too many wolves spoil the flock.
Too many necks spoil the block.

All edgy domesticity until the end, when ravening wolves and beheadings erupt.

(more…)

Then, if ever, come lusty days

May 4, 2018

What is so rare as a day in May?

Caught on the Our Bastard Language group on Facebook this morning, this Addison cartoon (by Mark Addison Kershaw):

(#1) Sexy springtime (in the northern hemisphere)

Birds are urgently trolling for sex on every street corner and mating shamelessly in the bushes. Plants are flagrantly displaying their female parts, meanwhile spraying the botanical counterpart of semen everywhere. It’s a jungle out there.

(more…)

acuminate

April 29, 2018

Today’s morning name, and it turns out to be surprisingly relevant today.

adjective acuminate: Biology (of a plant or animal structure, e.g. a leaf) tapering to a point. ORIGIN late 16th century: from late Latin acuminatus ‘pointed’, from acuminare ‘sharpen to a point’, from acuere ‘sharpen’ [cf. acute].

Relevant to my daily life through the variegated agave (Agave desmetiana) that flourishes on my back patio (last noted here in my 11/4/17 posting “The succulent report”); it has wicked needle-like — acuminate — leaf tips that wound me every time I try to work around the plant. These plants evolved to seriously stave off herbivores and other pesky creatures.

(more…)

Easter Anthem: the text

March 31, 2018

In between crucifixion and resurrection, a moment to consider the Sacred Harp song “Easter Anthem” (236 in the 1991 Denson revision of the Sacred Harp), tune by William Billings (1787). I posted the music on 4/20/14, along with a link to a video of the song at the Kalamazoo MI all-day singing on 7/20/09.

Now about the words, by Edward Young (1681-1765). The scriptural basis for the text:

But now is Christ risen from the dead,
and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
– I Corinthians 15:20 (KJV)

Now the SH text, and its source, in an intense, visionary poem by Young.

(more…)

Bits of culture

March 29, 2018

… and truncated expressions. From Sam Anderson’s “New Sentences” column in the NYT Magazine on the 20th (on-line) and 25th (in print), “From Morgan Parker’s ‘There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé’”, about ‘Summertime and the living is extraordinarily difficult’:

Every culture is a vast carpet of interwoven references: clichés, fables, jingles, lullabies, warnings, jokes, memes. To be a part of that culture means that it only takes a few words, the tiniest head fake, to set your mind racing along a familiar track. You can lead a horse to. There once was a man from. When the moon hits your eye. If you liked it then you shoulda.

One trick of art is to constantly invoke — and then manipulate and complicate — these familiar mental scripts. The artist sets your mind on a well-worn road, and then, just as you settle into that automatic groove, yanks you suddenly in another direction. It’s the same trick as a crossover dribble. Great art is always, if you will, breaking your mind’s ankles.

(more…)

nameless sodomites

March 21, 2018

(There will some be free verse that is flagrantly sacrilegious and violently carnal, and there will be some outrageous art, and, yes, this posting’s about oral and anal sodomy between men, though with a mostly historical and literary cast  — so you might want to exercise your judgment.)

It began with Penn State academic librarian (and my friend) Christopher (Xopher) Walker coming across a Facebook posting that began with the words “nameless sodomites”, which seized his attention. It was a publisher’s blurb for a new book in Italian on men’s sexuality and criminal behavior:

When I searched for the expression, I unearthed a reference (by the Cambridge Medievialist William Burgwinkle) to (Saint) Peter Damian seeing nameless sodomites through the confessional curtain. I then suspected that the phrase might have had some currency as a fixed expression — but in any event it’s a poetically arresting phrase, with the rather antique sodomite paired with an allusion to the medieval custom, in some places, of burning sodomites at the stake after priests had taken anonymous confessions of their mortal sins. Later custom, in the U.K. and the U.S. at least, was for sodomites to be named and shamed in court and then publicly hanged.

(more…)

I wandered lonely as a pork cloud

March 15, 2018

Yes, pork cloud. What the Bacon’s Heir company has re-named their version of chicharrones, aka (fried) pork rinds, which they believe are so fluffy that they have to be thought of as pork puffs:

We take fresh pork skin, melt off the fat, cure the skin in salt, and rapidly puff it in olive oil [so: pork skin puffs]. The result is so outrageously fluffy we had to change the name.

To my ear, the name is risible, very close to oxymoronic.

(more…)