For each bullet, name the poet it describes:
- served in Robert Devereux’s fleet, and was present at the siege of Cadiz.
- one work included a list of then-current card games and diversions, such as Tickle-me-quickly, Whip-her-ginny and Primifisto.
- one of the few early authors of a palindrome that can be credited as such spent much of his life as a Thames waterman.
- writings have considerable historical and antiquarian interest, with over one hundred and fifty publications in his lifetime.
- main literary gifts lay in a coarse, rough and ready wit, a talent for narrative, and a considerable command of repartee
- author of a constructed language called Barmoodan
- studies ended when he couldn’t get a grasp on Latin grammar
- wrote poems about a man who supposedly lived to the age of 152, a dog named Drunkard, a sonnet series on the signs of the Zodiac, and a memorial of monarchs.
- constructed a boat out of brown paper that was kept afloat with eight bullock’s bladders and set off down the river with oars made of giant dried fish tied to canes, and floated 40 miles downstream in it
- collector of the perquisites exacted by the lieutenant of the Tower of London
- an expert in the art of self-advertisement, creating new self-appointed identities, such as the King's water-poet and the Queen's water-man
- superintended the water pageant at the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth 1613, and composed the "triumphs" at the Lord Mayor's shows
- enjoyed the acquaintance of Ben Jonson, who said he did not “see ever any verses in England equal to the Sculler’s.”
The answer to all of the above is John Taylor (b. 1578 – d. 1653), a plebian who worked the
Here is a brief extract from his “The Praise of Hemp-Seed, with the Voyage of Mr. Roger Bird and the Writer hereof, in a Boat of browne-paper, from
So Hemp and Flax, or which you list to name
Are male and female, both one, and the same.
Those that 'gainst these comparisons deride,
And will not with my lines be satisfide,
Let them imagine e're they doe condemne
I loue to play the foole with such as them.
The cause why Hempseed hath endur'd this wrong
And hath its worthy praise obscur'd so long,
I doe suppose it to bee onely this
That Poets know their insufficience is,
That were earth Paper, and Sea inke, they know
'T were not enough great Hempseeds worth to show.
I muse the Pagans, with varietie,
Of godles Gods, made it no Deity.
And here’s a bit from his Poem in the Utopian Tongue (1613), which I take to be his nonce language, Barmoodan:
Thoytom Asse Coria Tushrump codsheadirustie,
Mungrellimo whish whap ragge dicete tottrie,
Mangelusquem verminets nipsem barelybittimsore,
Culliandolt travellerebumque, graiphone trutchmore.
Pusse per mew (Odcomb) gul abelgik foppery shig shag
Cock a peps Comb sottishamp, Idioshte momulus tag rag.
But what is most interesting to me about
It is clear that all the current paradigms are fatally flawed. Whether poetry contest, inclinatory nepotism, rhizomic affinity, self-publishing, other-publishing, or otherwise, all our methods result in the same perceived problems: glut, heavily patrolled territories, low quality to quantity ratio, little or no agreement on ranking or worth, and, to the populace at large, ennui, disinterest, and incomprehension, if not ridicule.
Let me be clear, I am not making a point along the poetry is dying/poetry is better than ever, or the poetry has no effect/poetry is vital axes. I merely saying the what we believe to be the problems with our current poetry cannot be separated from how that poetry is published.
I am agnostic on whether the above list of problems really are problems or not. But if they are, then I can propose an alternative method, derived from John Taylor, that would reduce, eliminate, or detoxify most of them.
The idea of publication by subscription is anodyne to the afflictions of our current poetry scene. It is in some ways related to the current, and still what seems to be the most common practice of publishing poetry books, the contest.
In the poetry contest model, poets submit manuscripts to a publisher along with a fee, usually somewhere between $15 and $25. This amount is probably controlled by market forces, and represents a range that secures the publisher the highest total dollars. That total amount is used, in whole or in part, to underwrite the production costs of the single book selected for publication.
The publication by subscription model both improves upon this and corrects its inherent deficiencies. The poet or poetry publisher advertises the intent to publish the book, along with some description and samples of its content, its theme, or any other material that will establish the expectations for it. Those interested in the book submit some type of promissory note indicating an interest in the book and the commitment to pay a sum for it when it is available. After publication, the exchange of funds for goods take place. The subscribers get a book they want to read, and the poet gets an audience that will read his book.