Our usual Saturday Video will be delayed due to technical difficulties, tryptophan-induced coma, cuisine- related injuries, and indolence.
See you in the next day or two....
Also answers to our quiz...
Our usual Saturday Video will be delayed due to technical difficulties, tryptophan-induced coma, cuisine- related injuries, and indolence.
See you in the next day or two....
Also answers to our quiz...
Today’s (October 14, 2008) New York Times Science section has an article about Dr. James W. Pennebaker. Dr. Pennebaker, a psychologist, counts words. He also has some very good and practical advice about writing and how it can help you improve your physical and mental health. This is fascinating and I'd like to think about it in more depth here sometime--how something as abstract as language can affect something as concrete as your health. Pennebaker says: "The words we use reflect who we are. Word choice can serve as a key to people's personality and social situations."
He also has a cool article analyzing the candidates in the current presidential election. From the article:
Palin’s thought processes seem to be the least complicated of the four: she uses fewer words that refer to cognitive processes (insight, cause and effect relationships, inclusion, exclusion, and so on) than the other nominees. The only cognitive words she uses frequently are inclusive words (plus, and, with), which, like conjunctions, can indicate rambling. She uses particularly few inhibition and exclusive words. Using few exclusive words sometimes indicates dishonesty.
In any case, I recommend the NYT article because most poets spend some amount of time thinking about words.
But also for another reason. From the article:
…Dr. Pennebaker, a pioneer in the field of therapeutic writing, asked a group of people recovering from serious illness or other trauma to engage in a series of writing exercises. The word tallies showed that those whose health was improving tended to decrease their use of first-person pronouns through the course of the study.
Dr. Pennebaker also noted that the healthier a person becomes, the more that person uses causal words, such as because, cause, and effect. But we’ll get to those some other time.
One of the great antinomies of 20th and 21st Century poetry has been built around embracing or repudiating the personal pronoun in poems. The responses to the personal pronoun vary: an outright ban, subversion, ironic use, badge of honor, deconstruction, vilification, gulag, mockery, and so on. Poetics statements run the gamut from condemnation of a self in poems as capitalist dupe, to assertions of personism.
I do think the native tendency is for the general reader to prefer the use of the personal pronoun rather than find it annoying. This might be because of the generally held opinion among non-poetry specialists that a poem is about the person writing it or is a reflection of her experiences and thoughts.
But I have yet to see it used as a diagnostic tool in poetry. So let me suggest a way we might start doing that.
Given Pennebaker’s data, let’s use the word count of personal pronouns in a poem, or series of poems to indicate the degree to which a poet’s works can be described as traumatized. I’m going to take two examples and see if this analysis holds true, or, at least, enforces the common conception of a poet’s work.
I used the poems available online that Sylvia Plath wrote in 1962 and the beginning of 1963 as a test case for traumatized poems, and all the readily available online poems of Richard Wilbur as an example of poems generally accepted as untraumatized.
Next, I did a manual word count of personal pronouns (I, me, mine, myself) in each batch of poems, and an automated word count of the total words in each batch.
Out of a total of 4,355 words, Wilbur's poems use the personal pronoun 47 times or about 1.08%. In contrast, out of 14,437 words, the personal pronoun shows up in Plath’s poems 531 times or about 3.68% of the total number of words. This is almost 4 times more often than in Wilbur’s poems.
This appears to justify the commonly held opinion that Plath’s poems are poems of trauma (or that the poems themselves are traumatized), and Wilbur’s are not.
I now think we can use the results to help current poets establish a trauma index for their own poems.
Note that this is not meant to reflect the value or worth of any single poem, or, colloquially, whether any one poem rocks, or, on the contrary, sucks. The following trauma scale merely measures the relative traumatization that the poem has undergone, or, perhaps, reflects. Also, this scale should not be used on poems written by adolescents or poems by relatively inexperienced writers, since in the first instance, trauma can be assumed as an existential condition, and, in the second, control over the writing is insufficient to reflect an accurate trauma-pattern.
The Poem Trauma Scale
Simply put, the parameters of the scale are these:
Any poem whose use of the personal pronoun is 1.08% of the total word count, or less, can be definitely placed in the category “untraumatized.” Any poem whose use of the personal pronoun is 3.68% of the total word count, or more, can be definitively called traumatized.
Using the average of the two percentages, any poem with a personal pronoun count of less than 2.38% can be judged to be relatively untraumatized, and poems with a PPC of more than 2.38% can be placed in an increasing traumatized zone.
Using a large sample of my own poems, I found my PPC is 1.53%, relatively untraumatized, but more traumatized than Richard Wilbur.
On a completely different note, Mary Karr's Poet's Choice column this past Sunday featured Bill Knott. I think Mary might be starting to hit her stride.
ADDENDUM: after reading this, this and this, let me hasten to include a link to Bill Knott's great blog (which I have praised heretofore) and his lulu page where you can download his poems for free. It's the equivalent of Goya giving away his prints on a streetcorner. They're that good.
And--I missed this before--the Emerging Writer's Network recently had an interview with "upstart publishers," including Vrzhu Press fave Rose Metal Press. Both Vrzhu and Rose Metal have a book coming out immanently by the brilliant Carol Guess.
And, why not, while we're at it, here's an interview with Pattiann Rogers.
And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy's and talk about the day and type your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don't listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you're sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the the programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you're late and be amazed when you're early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I'm black and be sorry when I'm wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I'd known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you're angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you're gorgeous and hug you when you're anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I'm next to you and whimper when I'm not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don't and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I'm rejecting you when I'm not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I'd ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don't believe me and have a feeling so deep I can't find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I'd get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don't want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don't mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it's empty without you and want want you want and think I'm losing myself but know I'm safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don't deserve any less and answer your questions when I'd rather not and tell you the truth when I really don't want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it's all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it's a beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you.
Match the quote with the name:
1. We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.
2. When in doubt, take a nap.
3. The man that cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.
4. In poetry we're trying to make birds, not birdhouses.
5. And what exactly is a dream? And what exactly is a joke?
6. Prosody is to poets what laying a fire is to married couples, a matter on which nobody is right but oneself.
a. W. H. Auden
b. Syd Barrett
c, Andre Breton
d. Paul Newman
e. Dean Young
f. Dean Young
Answers in our next full post!
A Note on Poetic Thought Disorder
Poetic Thought Disorder (or PTD) has traditionally been applied to a variety of ill-defined speech acts, poems, and poetic forms which are assumed — and it is an assumption — to be secondary to a more fundamental disturbance of versifying or writing poems. These practices were first noted by Hecker in 1871 but they were studied and described in much more detail by Bleuler who regarded them as a direct consequence of ‘metaphors and poetic associationalism’ which he thought was fundamental to poetry. Thus the long-lived assumption that Poetic Thought Disorder was of cardinal importance, aetiologically and diagnostically, being exhibited by all poets and by no one else. However, no one has ever succeeded in producing a satisfactory definition of the term poetry, or in identifying any fundamental psychological or linguistic term capable of accounting for the various observable qualities of a poem. Worse still, few of the qualities have proved to be specific to a poem, and none to be manifested by more than a proportion of poems in what in other respects are typical examples of the genre. Indeed, large studies of the symptomatology of poems show them to be rare in comparison to delusions (“this is a great poem”) and hallucinations (other poets envy me”).
Preliminary Classification of Poetic Thought Disorder (PTD)
The following definitions are taken from authoritative texts, and are widely accepted.
Derailment occurs when a train jumps off the track. Andreasen (1979) defines derailment as “A poem in which the ideas slip off the track onto another one which is clearly but obliquely related, or onto one which is completely unrelated”.
Each is truly a unique piece,
you said, or, perhaps, each
is a truly unique piece.
I sniff the difference.
It’s like dust in an old house,
or the water thereof.
Then you come to an exciting part.
The bandit affianced
to the blind man’s daughter. The mangel-wurzels
that come out of every door, salute the traveller
and are gone. Or the more melting pace of strolling players,
each with a collapsed sweetie on his arm, each
tidy as one’s idea of everything under the sun is tidy.
And the wolverines
return, with their coach, and night,
the black bat night, is blacker than any bat
-John Ashbery, The Burden of the Park
Derailment is one of a number of types of PTD. However, it is a basic type and at least some of the other types of PTD appear to be elaborations of derailment.
This term can be applied when a question is asked in a poem and the poet gives an answer which has “slipped off the track” and is either obliquely or even unrelated to the question.
An example of tangentiality:
It doesn't seem as though we could die up here, does it?
The Acropolis is so old that death on it seems superfluous.
So we can afford to take some chances—
Leap off the wall! Bash statues with our heads!
-Kenneth Koch, On the Acropolis
At first glance it might appear the writer is making a mountain out of a mole hill, as this is the sort of response we all might make, sliding off the question and communicating other important information. However, this answer came early in the poem. In this setting, such a response suggests, but does not prove, PTD. As mentioned, isolated examples of derailment occur in the writing of normal individuals as well as poets.
Flight of ideas (includes clanging (rhyming, alliteration, etc.))
The central feature of the flight of ideas in a poem is rapid, continuous verbalisations which are associated with constant shifting from one idea to another.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
-John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale
et al (1974) describe three types of flight of ideas: 1) where there is
rhyming or clanging, eg, “pards, retards” above, 2) where there is an
association by meaning, including opposites, eg, “Beauty is truth,
truth beauty”, and 3) where there is distraction, e.g., “O for a beaker
full of the warm South,/Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,/
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,/And purple-stained mouth.”
CLOUD-PUFFBALL, torn tufts, tossed pillows ' flaunt forth, then chevy on an air- built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs ' they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, ' wherever an elm arches, Shivelights and shadowtackle in long ' lashes lace, lance, and pair.
-Gerard Manley Hopkins, That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection
Under the heading of clanging, Andreasen (1979) has drawn attention to punning, as well as alliteration. Not surprisingly, with high mood elevation the punning of flight of ideas can be frequent, amusing and apparently clever.
The wasp and all his numerous family
I look upon as a major calamity.
He throws open his nest with prodigality,
But I distrust his waspitality.
-Ogden Nash, The Wasp
Andreasen (1979) states “flight of ideas is a derailment that occurs rapidly in the context of pressured speech”. (“Objectivity and again objectivity, and no expression, no hind-side-beforenesss, no Tennysonianness of speech - nothing, nothing, that you couldn't in some circumstance, in the stress of some emotion, actually say.” –Ezra Pound, known to have suffered from PTD (emphasis added)).
Perseveration and Echolalia
Perseveration is the repetitive expression of a particular word, phrase, or concept during the course of speech.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
-Robert Grenier, Sentences.
Echolalia is the repeating of words or phrases in the poem:
Then tell me, what is that supreme delight? Echo: Light
-George Herbert (1593-1633), Heaven
This by no means exhausts the typical manifestations of PTD in a poem. We have yet to cover Poverty of thought, Poverty of content, Illogicality, Incoherence , Blocking (Thought blockage), and Neologism. There is much of interest here (e.g., a remarkable feature of neologisms is that the poet usually seems unaware that they lack meaning to the listener), however, these topics will be covered in a later installment, where we hope also to elucidate neopoesis, exceptionalism, revisionology, Williamloganism and Billycollinsism.
First up, a borrowing of recent comics from the Savage Chickens web site of Doug Savage. I urge everyone to sign up for the Savage Chickens e-mail, and to buy cool Savage Chicken stuff. You'll feel good about yourself.
* * * *
Next, an annoucement from our Research Bureau.
Many of our regular readers write in to ask us: "Dear Vrzhu Research Bureau, can you help me understand the current state of poetry in America today."
Dear reader, the answer is yes, the Vrzhu Research Bureau can help you understand today's current American poetry situation. But. An easy task this not is, we yoda in reply. To understand today, you must remember tomorrow, or as the poets say, The Past is Prolapse.
Luckily [for you], the VRB has already begun on a massive task of compiling a collated history of poetries in the last, i.e. 20th, century. While this project is still in its formative stages, we'll provide you with a brief section at the macroscopic level:
In 1929, an English major organized a group of other English majors and started a gang called the School of Quietude. The Quietudes wanted to emulate a gang of older writers who had been involved in poetic activity since 1864 and provided minor poems for the British Empire. This gang was called the Victorians since they claimed their turf in Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria. Russ "Farmer" Jones, along with "Tookie" Andrews and several other gang members from the School of Quietude were fascinated with the hype of the Modernists and they wanted to develop School of Quietude into a larger force. The School of Quietude began using the name New Critics since members were involved in literary criticism and college teaching. Quietude members would wear blue scarves (now called bandannas) around their necks or heads.
In 1971, the use of the word ‘Poet’ had become so common among the Quietudes that it became an acceptable name for the gang. Meanwhile, a collection of young Quietude members influenced other area writers resulting in the formation of many Quietude sets. Some of these sets included Soft Surrealism Quiets, Imagist Quiets, New Formalist Quiets and Westside Quiets. Quietude gangs constantly expanded their turf, sponsoring prizes and book contests. Because of their aggression, several rival gangs joined forces as a gang collective called the Post-Avants. They initially adopted the motto ‘I Hate Speech’ as their representative theme. A fierce rivalry between these two gangs existed throughout the 1970's and 80's.
The Post Avants started as one of the San Francisco gangs and other urban areas. Their gang symbol is the new motto "Theory is content" spelled out with their hands. The Post Avants are made up of various sub-groups known as "schools" between which few significant differences are known to exist. Since their formation the Post Avant gangs have branched out throughout the United States, and have even influenced groups using similar techniques in Europe.
More to come. . . .
* * * * *
Finally, here's a sample from the back files:
What does chess have to do with poetry? Well both benefit from memory, and thrive in an environment where tradition and innovation circle each other incessantly. Also, both chess and poetry struggle with utilitarian versus sovereign teleologies. What is poetry good for? Lots of things, or, on the other hand, only itself. Same with chess, though chess has been more successful at being promulgated under the utilitarian banner: it teaches you how to learn, it exercises the mental faculties, we teach it to inner city youth, etc. But of course chess, like poetry, is in some ways only about itself, yes?
Anyway, the marketplace and pedagogical niche for chess is thanks to a number of factors, but two most of all: First, chess has become the Drosophila of both cognitive science and, not coincidently, cybernetics. Deep Blue, and brain mapping.
And, second, Bobby Fischer.
Not only did Fischer become the chess world champion (more on that in a minute) but he did something even more unlikely. He aroused the American public's interest in an intellectual, sedentary activity. This is the equivalent of making stamp collecting sexy, popular and cool. And this is in addition to fundamentally changing the game of chess in many ways, both externally and internally.
And I don't think we can underestimate his accomplishment -- that Fischer defeated an entire organizational apparatus designed to keep him from winning the world chess championship. Yes, the Soviet chess magisterium had its inherent weaknesses -- but I don't think that was as such a great factor, and does not take away from what Fischer was able to accomplish.
Probably because chess isn't the real world, Fischer will not be put on the same level as Einstein or Godel. But I think that he is their equal. Fischer's games are as beautiful, elegant and exciting as Einstein's relativity papers, or Godel's theorem. Here's a glimpse of Fischer from an old NYT magazine article:
Bobby Fischer's chess memory, for example, is formidable. In 1971, I interviewed him in New York just after he had returned from winning a chess tournament in Buenos Aires, becoming the challenger for Boris Spassky's title. In his previous candidates' matches, he had beaten the Soviet Union's Mark Taimanov by a score of 6-0, and had followed that by absolutely pulverizing Bent Larsen, the Great Dane, by another 6-0 whitewash. Taimanov I could understand. He was not in Fischer's league. But Larsen! That Danish player was the strongest in the West, aside from Fischer himself. Nobody can take Larsen by a 6-0 score. I asked him how he did it.
''Well,'' Fischer said, ''you have to know that Larsen is a romantic. He likes wild positions. He likes to throw you off with crazy moves. Another thing about Larsen. If he wins the first few games, he is unbeatable. He gets this confidence, you know, and you can't beat him. But if he loses the first few games, he loses confidence and sort of folds up.
''Anyway,'' said Fischer, ''we started our first game and around the 10th move he threw something at me. He figured to catch me by surprise. But when I looked at the position, I remembered it was something that Steinitz had tried against Lasker in the 1894 championship match. If I hadn't known that position, I might have spent a lot of time figuring it out and maybe I couldn't even have done it on my clock. But once I saw the position, I remembered that I had once analyzed it, and I knew Larsen was dead. When I played the right move, Larsen knew that I knew, and he lost the game and also the next five.''
''How about a game?'' I asked. He was amused. I grabbed the white pieces, not even giving him the chance to draw for color - what the hell, he was Bobby Fischer - and played a Queen's Gambit. It was the best game I ever have played. I held out for about 30 moves, and when I resigned, it was with flags flying and bands playing ''The Stars and Stripes Forever.'' I went down with honors. The game took about 15 minutes, of which 14 were mine. He would move instantly, with a bored look on his face.
''Know what was interesting about this game?'' he asked. No, I didn't. ''Up to the 19th move, it was an exact duplicate of a game I played against Mecking in Brazil nine years ago. You and Mecking both played the same 19th move, and it looks natural, but it loses in all variations. Let me show you.'' Fischer swept the board clean, instantly set up the complicated 19th-move position and showed me six variations in a row proving why White must lose.
There is no controversy that Fischer's games are anything other than masterpieces. In the muddier realm of poetry, there is little of the same universal agreement. Pound's Cantos are great. Or they're a big con job. And the same with anyone else's oeuvre you care to put forward. Perhaps this is because poetry is a bigger world than chess. I'm open to suggestions on this. I would guess that there is unanimity on the rules of chess, but the rules of poetry, or even if there are rules, is less unarguable.
Would that there was a ranking system for poets, and a patzer could be called a patzer objectively. Of course this prospect is as terrifying is it is seductive, and perhaps also wrong-headed. Maybe what makes poetry an art is the same thing that prevents such a ranking:
I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't
you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write
- from Berryman, by W.S. Merwin
Both poetry and chess can become all-absorbing in the way that any pattern-making that exceeds our comprehension does. Perhaps a day will come when Deep Feelin' Blue will defeat our most McArthur Awardish versifiers. . . .
Before we move forward, we look back. This appears to be a common meme for the end of the calendar year in media and blogia. One of the better attempts I think is this endeavor promulgated by Edge.org: What have you changed your mind about? It requires more than a simple--and easy--and always somewhat arbitrary--picking choosing of last year's best or worst of anything. Though of course that's plenty entertaining, and we may indulge in it here a bit later on this week, if we can wrestle the time away from the quotid.
But how about you, and how about particularly the poem, poetry, poetics, and Pobiz? What have you changed your mind about in these areas? Do poems that are insufficiently theorized now seem shallow, or refreshing? Or do poems that are sufficiently theorized seem now to have dimension, or are merely . . . illustrative? Have you reconsidered poets you've previously dismissed, and why? Have you changed your mind about workshops? Exercises? MFA programs? Have you changed your mind about the Post-avant? Pre-avant? Other designations or schools or humors?
The always articulate Seth Abramson proceeds us here with this post, where he breaks through some of the ice floes.
Responses welcome as always, or reflect in the solitude of your own conscience, an act of reconciliation.
Finally, feel safe thanks to Vrzhu Reliable Poetry Protection!
Poetry is naturally acidic, because carbon dioxide emitted by the poet combines with water molecules to form carbonic acid. Acidic poesis occurs when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere react during a poetry reading to form sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and nitric acid (HNO), which falls on the audience as invisible dust. Most poetry readings are known to have a pH of 5.0 or lower.
In past decades, to reduce poetry pollution in areas near universities, English departments built poetic sneeze guards and venting ducts to disperse the poetic particulate high up into the air, away from listeners. However, new EPA regulations have now made this method infeasible.
During the 1980s, the American Poetry Society conducted a major ten-year scientific study of acidic poetry and poetry precipitates. This study, the National Acidic Poetry Assessment Program or NAPAP, found that the effects of acidic poetry were greater than feared. The study found that acidic poetry had affected about 10 percent of Eastern poetry readers and audiences and that it had contributed to the decline in reading poetry by reducing tolerance to anastrophe, rhyme and synecdoche. The study also found that acidic poesis contributed to corrosion in prose writing in affected areas and that poetic particles had contributed to reduced readability and intelligibility in the Northeast and parts of the West. The panel found that the readers and listeners most severely affected were those who lacked a natural buffering capacity.
The particulate matter associated with acid poesis has been shown to have adverse health effects, especially among those who are susceptible to mental disorders, or are highly suggestible. There is also some concern that acidic poesis could contribute to leaching of common sense and humility from the literate populace.
HOW YOU CAN BE PROTECTED
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And below the fold . . .
1. From a review of A Life of Picasso, Volume III, The Triumphant Years:
[Picasso] turned objects into people and vice versa, but never, in the manner of the surrealists, reduced women to machines.
COMMENT: ...unlike the automobile industry.
Question: Do you think the poetry written by Americans during the last ten years shows any line of development (progressions)?
Wallace Stevens: The older poets have to be considered as individuals; the younger poets, whom it is easier to see as a group, lack a leader. After all, the fury of poetry always comes from a the presence of a madman or two and, at the moment, all the madmen are politicians.
-Wallace Stevens, 20th Century Verse, September - October 19382.
2. A while back, we put out an all points for the Latin word (or equivalent) for 'blog." Recently, an informal member of the Vrzhu Research Bureau Irregulars (little did she suspect), Latin scholar Jane Brinley, was able to assist us.
Ms. Brinley writes:
. . . about the Latin for blog. I came across an article that suggested blogis which would decline like this:
The second conjugation verb proposed would have principle parts as follows: blogeo, blogere, blogevi, blogetus.
. . .and Ms. B also researches the back translation of "Love me, love my blog."
If that's a command/imperative it would be ama me, ama blogem meum. You can fool with the word order eg: me ama, ama blogem meum or ama me blogem meum ama. If the command is addressed to multiple people it would be amata me, amata blogem meum. Same word order variants work.
Thank you, Jane Brinley. Excellent work.
COMMENT: in the accompanying figure note the use of the stylus to keystroke this Roman laptop circa 29 BCE. We have come so far.
3. A poetry doping scandal reported on at the blog of Charles Berstein:
Doping Scandal Rocks Poetry
by Mike Freakman
July 30, New York (AHP2 News Service) – The poetry world has been rocked by recent revelations that several of the most prestigious national poetry contest winners in 2005 and 2006 were written with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.
“Over the past decade, poetry contests have emphasized our openness to all participants, with the promise that each manuscript is judged on its merits along,” said Guadalupe Maximino Glumstein, the Chancellor of the International Poetry Contests Federation (IPCF). “Doping is a huge step backward in our efforts, since it gives an unfair competitive advantage to those who are willing to do anything, including risk long-term damage to their bodies and minds, in order to write the best poem.”
The IPCF advocates testing for performance-enhancing drugs as a prerequisite for national book publications, slam competitions, as well a poetry contests. Poets that violate IPCF rules would be ineligible for prizes or anthologies for penalty periods of one year for first offenders to eternity for repeat offenders. Poets that comply with IPCF guidelines get a sticker to affix to all their publications certifying their poems as doping-free.
“Unless we want poetry to sink back into the margins of society, we must assure readers that poets produce their work with their own sweat and imagination. When we teach a poem to a young person in a school setting, to inspire and instruct, we need to be able to say that anyone can aspire to write a poem as good as this. We can’t afford to send a message that doping is necessary to write the best poems. We have to have an even playing field.”
Several leading poets were asked to comment on the scandal but refused to talk on the record, for fear of provoking IPCF investigations of their conduct. Unlike the use of doping in baseball, track, and cycling, poets often use poetry-performance-enhancing drugs to cause temporary physical and mental impairment or paralysis, in order to hyperactivate their imaginative capacities. The practice has been shown to cause a number of long-term physical and mental maladies.
But 11-year old Daisy Threadwhistle of Incontrobrogliaria, New Jersey, was eager to speak on the record. Ms. Threadwhistle said she was very disappointed when a poem from her school reader was removed when its author tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. “ ‘The Moon Is My Revenge, Venus My Soldier of Midnight’ ” was my favorite poem this year. I feel cheated. I don’t think I want to read any more poems.”
In early 2006, IPCF introduced a battery of blood and psychological tests to detect poetic doping. An IPCF study group is now investigating whether the use of certain computer programs and search engines also should be banned from poetry.
Public service announcement:
Seeking poets who might have an extra copy of their chapbook or book they'd be willing to donate to a lucky student. Each week, during my 8-week undergraduate poetry class, there will be a drawing to see who wins the book a poet has been generous enough to donate. The winner will be responsible for reading your book, reviewing it, and selecting a favorite poem to read to the class the following week. If you like, contact information and book price should be included so that others in the class can buy your book. Students will be STRONGLY encouraged to buy the books of poets who, after all, were kind enough to contribute a book to their education. If you're willing, please send your book (autographed would be nice) and contact and price details to:
Upper Iowa University - Milwaukee Center
620 S 76th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53214
4. M. Mark Wallace, a valued member of the DC innovative poetry community, and since decamped to Carlsbad, CA, has some v. interesting questions on his blog that I urge you to take a look at and respond to as appropriate, to wit, and I quote:
While you’re actually writing a poem, how conscious are you of the history of poetry? Are you constantly thinking about how your poem will relate to the poems that have come before, or do you not think about that at all? Are you somewhere in between?
5. At FreeRice.com, you can donate 10 grains of rice by choosing the right answer to a vocabulary question. The rice is distributed by United Nations’ World Food Programme. It was created by John Breen, a computer programmer who also created The Hunger Site.
The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose name you see on the bottom of the screen. As of November Seventeenth, 2,457,120,420 grains of rice were given away. By the way, one cup of rice contains about 1,000 grains.
6. Finally, please tune in Thursday for a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT from the Vrzhu Research Bureau.
Both of Vrzhu's inaugural books, The Kimnama and More Than Anything make the Best Books for Fall Reading list at the Montserrat Review here This is another well deserved accolade for poets Kim Roberts (The Kimnama) and Hiram Larew (More Than Anything). Congrats!
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We here in the research arm of Vrzhu Press are working [tirelessly] to improve the lot of poets, and consumers of poetry alike.
However. Bethatasitmay. We also recognize that sometimes poetic efforts, effluvia and extravasations are not wanted or desired.
As such, one of the R&D efforts here in the warrens and catacombs of the VRB is to assist those for whom poetry is not an occasion, but a nuisance. Here is a short summary of our initial research and a peek at one of our many products in continuous development.
Poems are among the most difficult household pests to control. Except for submission periods when they may migrate from place to place, poems spend their entire life inside buildings. Usually they are found in libraries, bathrooms and bedrooms. They can be carried into homes in shopping bags, backpacks, furniture and pet foods.
Poems are one of the most disagreeable literary genres that may invade homes. While it is not true that an unkept home will cause a poem infestation, there is indeed a strong correlation between sanitation and poems once an infestation gets started. The presence of poems often causes serious mental anguish for some homeowners. Poems often associate themselves with teenagers and are known to be involved in the spread of negative emotions which cause mild depression, self-absorption, herbal tea drinking, and more serious melodramatic behavior. Some people appear to be allergic to poems.
The exact origin of our domestic poems is disputed, but many are European, South American and Eastern in origin and now are widely distributed throughout the country. In most areas, homeowners are commonly bothered by five different categories of poems: confessional, experimental, accessible, surreal (which has a subcategory, deepimage), and nature poems, which are more at home outdoors but can also get into the house.
The American poem may grow from one to several hundred pages. It can be identified by its normal markings: ragged, sloppy right margins and, frequently, a body segmented into “stanzas.” There is not much reliable information about any one poem’s lifespan, which nonetheless seems to be highly variable: from a few minutes to many years or stretching cycles of years.
Oriental poems, or haiku, are uniform and small in appearance, no more than seventeen syllables long when full-grown and are easily recognized by their short lines, though mutations are possible. The haiku seems to be equally at home inside human habitation and outdoors, where they can be found near ponds or blossoms or other similar areas.
The European poem is larger, usually darker, but vary greatly in appearance and pronunciation. The European poem is quite active and can easily migrate throughout communities thus becoming a major pest, however, it seems to only truly thrive in the presence of American poems, a symbiotic relationship our poentomologists have termed “translation.” Even so, a troublesome infestation can develop rapidly after the chance introduction of just a few individual poems. It is an unsettled question whether the South American poem, whose habits and behavior are almost identical to the European, is a subspecies, or is an entirely different species.
Another poem sometimes found invading the home is the Woodsy poem. This species lives outdoors and is not as fast nor as wary as its house-dwelling relatives. They may wander into buildings in wooded areas, or may be brought into the house under false pretenses. The males of this species (garysnyderus) are long-lived and have a rough appearance. The females (maryoliveria) are much more reclusive but probably more widespread.
Integrated Poem Management
It is easier (and less costly) to prevent poems from entering a structure than it is to get rid of them. They can be discouraged from invading buildings by sealing cracks and crevices in foundations and outside walls. Careful inspection of all anthologies and omnibus selections is essential, as poems have been known to hide within large tracts of prose.
Carefully inspect all incoming books, magazines, and junk mail for the presence of poems or references to them.
Unfortunately no method for controlling poems has proven universally successful. We here in the Vrzhu Research Bureau are working on a safe, convenient method of eliminating poem infestations when they occur.
The Vrzhu Research Bureau is approaching the end of its fiscal year (September 31) and as usual has some sweep-up funds that must be spent before said end. To help us out we are soliciting ideas for short range projects, investigations or studies. Although we can provide no remuneration for your ideas, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are advancing the cause of poetry, poetronics, poetomology, poetics and theoretical quantum pseudolegerdemain in our time.
Here are some of our areas of concentration in the past few years, though any laboratory-based poetic study will be considered.
-Mechano-psychotic line breakage
-Ego reduction therapy
-Deviant Haiku Teratogenesis
-Vers Libre, Vers Fraternel, Vers Egal
-The Myth of Good Poetry – a chemical proof analysis
And here are some of the past postings of the work in our Bureau:
Please provide your ideas and topics for the Vrzhu Research Bureau in the comments section of this posting.
And as always, the Vrzhu Research Bureau will continue to provide our loyal reader with updates, synopses, and abstracts from our continuing and ever-progressing endeavors.