on poetry

August 10, 2021

“I write out of curiosity — to see what language can do at the ‘limit-cases’ of writing. I believe that poetry constitutes the ‘R & D wing’ of language, reverse-engineering this alien technology for human expression. I build anti-gravity machines out of words.”
Christian Bök
(b. August 10, 1966)

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quote

lots of listening

July 12, 2021

If your podcast list is ready for an update, have a listen at The Verb. BBC Radio 3’s “cabaret of the word” features poetry, prose, discussion, language talk, new writing, and performance. There are 128 episodes online, each around 45 minutes, hosted by the poet, journalist, playwright, and Yorkshire-accented Ian McMillan.

More poetry podcast posts.

on poetry

May 8, 2021

“People are now beginning to take action for language and cultural survival, and my work is to help provide inspiration and tools for this through my writing.”
Nora Marks Keixwnéi Dauenhauer
(May 8, 1927 – September 25, 2017)

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on poetry

January 20, 2021

“try to put the poetry in the language that we speak, to use that language, take those simple words and make out of them something that is moving, that is powerful, that is there.”
Pat Parker
(January 20, 1944 – June 17, 1989)

on poetry

November 27, 2020


“I am trying to imagine language without light, as though I wanted to understand how things were before language, when, deep in the throat, syllables and vowels were not yet organized and it was necessary to tilt one’s head back to allow sounds to fly through the open air, terrifying, guttural or strident.”
Nicole Brossard
(b. November 27, 1943)

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quote: Fences in Breathing

change, one word at a time

November 25, 2020

If you are a writer, linguist, lexicographer, sociolinguist, language technologist, word enthusiast, or someone interested in how languages evolve, you may be interested in the fascinating, free, downloadable Words of an Unprecedented Year report from Oxford University Press.

In addition, there will be a free webinar, Words of an unprecedented year: Behind the scenes of the Oxford Languages’ Word of the Year 2020, on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 7:00am Pacific. It will be recorded and available for later viewing. Registration is required.

comics, seriously

October 4, 2020

Neil Cohn thinks seriously about comics. With a Ph.D. in Psychology from Tufts University and post-doc work at U.C. San Diego, he is currently an Associate Professor at Tilburg University, in the Netherlands. His work explores the “similarities between the underlying structure of language and the structure found in the ‘visual language’ used in comics.”

Not surprisingly, those similarities extend to visual poetry.

If you’re interested in visual language, have a look at Cohn’s Visual Language Lab and his latest book, Who Understands Comics?: Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension (Bloomsbury 2020).

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image by Neil Cohn

on poetry

June 20, 2020


“Poetry offers us a language when our other languages fail.”
Athol Williams
(b. June 20, 1970)

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awesomesauce, adj.

May 15, 2020

If you are tiring of your own vocabulary, consider subscribing to OED Online Word of the Day. As self-isolation, flatten the curve, and social distancing have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, the daily dose of words includes both antiquated and charming selections. Consider: awfulize, begrudgery, femina (‘The long pale feathers from the wing tips of a female ostrich, used as decorative plumes’), ombrogenous, wallydraigle, and (a favorite) o (‘Used to symbolize a hug’). Your spell-check won’t like it, but you might!

on poetry

November 23, 2019

“It was language I loved, not meaning. I liked poetry better when I wasn’t sure what it meant. Eliot has said that the meaning of the poem is provided to keep the mind busy while the poem gets on with its work — like the bone thrown to the dog by the robber so he can get on with his work. Borges, when asked to read some of his poetry to a class of American students, said he would read it in Spanish. And that those who didn’t know Spanish would possibly get more out of it than those who did.”
P.K. Page
(November 23, 1916 – January 14, 2010)

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photo by Ken McAllister, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada
quote from The Filled Pen: Selected Non-Fiction, page 30

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