June 28, 2014
A new book spine poem. My shelves have been nudging me.
Useless Crazy Heart
All about love, the devil I know,
Style, solace, the entwining truth,
Conquest of the useless crazy heart,
The pleasure of finding things out.
Thanks to the authors: bell hooks, Claire Kilroy, Joseph M. Williams, Belinda McKeon, Richard Condon, Peter Temple, Werner Herzog, Thomas Cobb, and Richard Feynman; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.
Want to join in? Do – it’s all sorts of fun. Upload a photo and post a link in the comments, or put it on your own site, etc. If you’d like to see more of these, there are lots in the Sentence first bookmash archive.
May 7, 2014
It’s a while since I’ve made a bookmash, i.e., a book spine poem. Here’s a new one:
Periodic Tales from Hell
tales from hell:
The night torn
mad with footsteps.
This year it
will be different.
Thanks to the authors: Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, Lorna Sage, Patrick McCabe, Charles Bukowski, and Maeve Binchy; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.
My bookmash archive has more of these and links to other people’s.
April 1, 2014
As a child I was very taken with anagrams and palindromes and similar wordplay. The interest waned or mutated over the years, but not fully, so when I stumbled upon Howard W. Bergerson’s book Palindromes and Anagrams (Dover Publications, 1973) in Charlie Byrne’s bookshop, available for all of €2, I quickly picked it up.
The book contains most or all of the well-known palindromes, like Madam, I’m Adam, Able was I ere I saw Elba, Live not on evil, and (maybe most famously) A man, a plan, a canal – Panama; to which, incidentally, J. A. Lindon wrote a parody: A dog, a pant, a panic in a Patna pagoda. Other enjoyable one-liners include:
Drab as a fool, as aloof as a bard.
Hell! A spacecraft farce caps all, eh?
Did I do, O God, did I as I said I’d do? Good, I did!
I saw desserts; I’d no lemons, alas no melon. Distressed was I.
The next three invited combination into a cryptic mini-narrative:
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March 12, 2014
In a March 4th post on the use of amn’t in Ireland, I mentioned that it was National Grammar Day – or as I think of it, International Grammar Day.
Among the traditional events on the day is a grammar haiku contest, carried out mostly on Twitter and won this year by Nancy Friedman. Mark Allen has helpfully collected the entries, which are always fun to browse. These three are mine:
Hints at a hidden truth: the
Glamour of grammar.
go way back: school just refines
the work of infants.
the world have many more than
Forty words for “Phew!”
The glamour of grammar echoes a certain T-shirt, the second is an old refrain for anyone scolded into thinking their native grammar is “bad”, and the third plays on the prototypical snowclone of Eskimos having forty words for snow. (Or even six billion.)
Comments in haiku
Are especially welcome,
But don’t feel obliged.
February 18, 2014
A new book spine poem (aka bookmash):
Skating to Antarctica,
Desolation island –
A place apart where
The wasteland ends;
Soul on ice into
The silent land
The other side of you.
I planned to include The White South but didn’t find a satisfying spot for it. Thanks to the authors: Jenny Diski, Patrick O’Brian, Dervla Murphy, Theodore Roszak, Eldridge Cleaver, Paul Broks, and Salley Vickers; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.
Many more in the bookmash archive: have a browse, or make your own.
December 7, 2013
A new bookmash. It has been weeks since I made one.
[click to enlarge]
A Pagan Place
The idea of prehistory, a pagan place –
Land of milk and honey, the white goddess;
Cows, pigs, wars and witches,
Women, fire, and dangerous things.
Again this one is top-heavy with non-fiction – I tend to notice the ratio only after putting them together. See my previous one on language evolution for stats on fiction vs. nonfiction.
Thanks to the authors: Glyn Daniel, Edna O’Brien, Bríd Mahon, Robert Graves, Marvin Harris, and George Lakoff; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.
For more like this, see my archive of book spine poems (25 at last count), which includes links to other people’s. If you want to join in the fun, do – send me a photo or put a link in the comments. Remarks about, say, my inconsistent use of the serial comma are also welcome.
November 27, 2013
If any lightfoot Clod Dewvale was to hold me up, dicksturping me and marauding me of my rights to my onus, yan, tyan, tethera, methera, pimp, I’d let him have my best pair of galloper’s heels in the creamsourer.
—James Joyce, Finnegans Wake
Though I grew up in the countryside, I’m not of direct farming stock, which may be why I learned of yan tan tethera only quite recently (courtesy of @vencut2 on Twitter). It’s an old counting system used traditionally by shepherds in parts of the UK, and also in knitting and fishing and so on, or by children for their own amusement.
Metheradik (=14) sheep in the west of Ireland (photo by Stan Carey)
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