on poetry

April 15, 2017


“The language marches in step with the executioners. / Therefore we must get a new language.”
Tomas Tranströmer
(April 15, 1931 – March 26, 2015)

. . . . .
quote from the poem “Night Duty” in The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (New Directions)
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on poetry

August 12, 2016

Radclyffe Hall“Language is surely too small a vessel to contain these emotions of mind and body that have somehow awakened a response in the spirit.”
Radclyffe Hall
(August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1943)
. . . . .
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the words we use

June 1, 2016

Langston Hughes wordcloud

We all have quirks of syntax and vocabulary that distinguish our writing. We have words that recur in our poetry, suggesting themes or simply the linguistic equivalent of comfortable slippers. Joanne Jeffries and Julian Yanover analyzed their database of more than 35,000 poems, looking for the words most used by individual poets and by classic and contemporary poets. From the results, they offer a series of word clouds with mouse-over sliding images for nine poets and for classic vs. contemporary. They’ve posted “Poetic WordClouds: These are the most common words in Poetry” on My Poetic Side, which has no “About” page but seems to be an online poetry community. Enjoy!
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Langston Hughes wordcloud
Thanks to Susan Chase-Foster for the heads up!

on poetry

February 3, 2016

Paul Auster“To feel estranged from language is to lose your own body.”
Paul Auster
(b. February 3, 1947)
. . . . .
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quote: “Notes from A Composition Book” in Collected Poems (The Overlook Press, 2004)

JSTOR | Daily

Metaphor plays a lively role in poetry. As linguist Chi Luu explains in her article, “It Turns Out Ordinary Life is Full of Poetry (Metaphorically Speaking)” as well. If you’re interested in metaphor, have a look at this very readable article in JSTOR | Daily.

on poetry

December 11, 2015

Jim Harrison“Being a writer requires an intoxication with language, an obsession with language.”
Jim Harrison
(b. December 11, 1937)
. . . . .
quote from Conversations with Jim Harrison (Robert DeMott, ed.)
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prompting the stone

October 16, 2015

USGS - WA

In case it is not noted on your calendar, today, Friday, October 16, 2015, is Geologic Map Day. Geologic maps are not only gorgeous and data-rich, but they are also, um, legended with fantastic language. If your poetic vocabulary could use a tectonic shift, this should help.
. . . . .
USGS map

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