Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Plagiarism

plagiarism
noun

1.  an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author:
It is said that he plagiarized Thoreau's plagiarism of a line written by Montaigne.

Synonyms: appropriation, infringement, piracy, counterfeiting; theft, borrowing, cribbing, passing off.

2.  a piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation:
"These two manuscripts are clearly plagiarisms," the editor said, tossing them angrily on the floor.




Newcastle poet Sheree Mack
     Using copyrighted text without permission is infringement.  This becomes plagiarism only when the procurer claims it as his or her own creation.  Tangentially, this distinction is far more significant in cyberspace and among artists than in the legal community.

     In a "Write Out Loud's" article, "Poet apologises for 'appropriations' as poems are withdrawn from collection", we see a charge of of plagiarism leveled against Newcastle poet Sheree Mack.  In her poetry collection, Laventille, Ms. Mack has included a number of "writing exercises":  rewordings of published verse. 

     To illustrate, here is "Before Dawn on Lady Young Road", ostensibly by Sheree Mack:

And the breeze bears along as well,
from down by the port,
when the tide’s just so,
when the sewerage is just so.

     And here is "Before Dawn on Bluff Road", which August Kleinzahler has confessed to writing:

And the wind carries along as well,
from down by the river,
when the tide’s just so,
the drainage just so,

     In a workshop, we'd call these "[complete] rewrites"...but they'd be done solely for the author's benefit;  no critiquers would dream of publishing them as their own work.

     The first thing that strikes me is her choice of victims.  If you're going to steal, why not swipe the best?  My fingers refused to sully my fancy new keyboard typing out this unspeakable, cloying shite ("Riddle" by Vicki Feaver) so I had to cut and paste it:

Without you, I prefer the nights;
the darkness inside me

like the darkness around. All day
I am alone with my emptiness:

Ira Lightman
     Which thought is more frightening?  That someone would steal this or that someone would publish it in the first place?  In Lenny Bruce terms, plagiarizing such dreck is like kidnapping junkies.  It makes no sense!  However, after some thought a method to the madness emerges:  she needs source material that even she can improve.  To be fair, she has succeeded for the most part (which is saying precious little).

     Ms. Mack's "apology" is the flimsiest excuse I've seen in a while:  "What I have been guilty of is a slackness and carelessness in separating out writing exercises...from my readings".  Ahem.  Come Christmas, Santa Claus may be bringing coal to Newcastle.

Smokestack editor Andy Croft
          Even more astounding are remarks by her publisher, whose immediate reaction was to label Ira Lightman a "wretched creature" for bringing the truth out and to despair that Sheree Mack is not making any money from her "appropriations".  Then we read this change of direction:

     Smokestack publisher Andy Croft told Write Out Loud: "I have now pulped all extant copies of Laventille, and I am preparing to print a new edition without ‘The Den’, ‘Mayleen’, ‘Mother to Mother’ and ‘A Different Shade of Red’ (which Ellen Phethean, Joan Johnston and Judy Jordan believe follow poems of their own too closely). The new edition will also include the following acknowledgements: ‘Men of Success Village’ after Douglas Dunn; ‘Before Dawn on Lady Young Road’ after August Kleinzahler; ‘Elise’ after Vicki Feaver; ‘Static Rain in Maraval’ after Jim Harrison; ‘The Last Lap’ after Louise Glück."

     Say, what?!?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #157
     You are going to [re]publish the work of a known plagiarist?  One who has already undermined all credibility--yours and hers--with insufficient candor?  Are you daft?  Why trust that any of her work¹ is original?  Don't you realize that plagiarism is the second most serious charge² one can level against an author?

     At the end of this tale there are some interesting twists concerning the intent to publish these rewrites with attribution (e.g. "'Elise' after Vicki Feaver").  If these are not sufficiently distinguished from the original, does Mr. Croft understand that he'll need the permission of the copyright holder?  And that this permission will not be easy to obtain?

     What is more, had Ms. Mack presented these as rewrites, along with the intact originals, she could have claimed fair use, it being a critical and educational exercise.  If a place exists, this is where such derivatives would belong.

     Context is everything.



Footnotes:

¹ - And, sure enough, other discoveries/accusations are pouring in.

² - Next to having ghost-written "50 Shades of Grey", of course.




    Your feedback is appreciated!

    Please take a moment to comment or ask questions below.  Failing that, please mark the post as "funny", "interesting", "silly" or "dull".  Also, feel free to expand this conversation by linking to it on Twitter or Facebook.  Please let us know if you've included us on your blogroll so that we can reciprocate.

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    We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,

Earl Gray, Esquirrel


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Keyboards. Yes, keyboards.

Poseidon Tt eSPORTS backlit blue switch mechanical
     We're all about the tools of craft here.  It's time to discuss keyboards.  If you don't type more than 50 words per minute and always stare at the screen while doing so any board will suffice.  However, if you are a professional and, especially, if you do transcriptions from print sources, you should consider the benefit of knowing when you've hit a key.  This used to be called "tactile response", a feature of "click" (versus the standard "chiclet") style keyboards.  Today they are called "mechanicals" and are available in three switch types:  blue, brown and black.  Blue switch means it has the sound and feel--resistance then falling--of clicking.  The brown switch is quieter.  Black has neither clicking feature but helps users avoid repeated characters by distinguishing the strokes.

     If using a Mac, consider the Das Keyboard Model S Professional (list price $133).  If a Windows user, consider the Poseidon Tt eSPORTS blue switch ($99);  it is backlit for those who type in the dark or who share their computer with a hunt-and-puncher.

     These are rare, making them the perfect gift for yourself or the writer "who has everything".  I have to warn you, though, that mechanicals will spoil you, and in very short order.  If forced to use someone else's machine you'll have to consciously avoid looking at them snobbishly and asking:

    "Chiclet style?  Dude.  Really."


Friday, May 8, 2015

Shakespeare's Law

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #106
     Should you learn only one thing here let it be Shakespeare's Law:  "If you don't know how poetry is performed you don't know how it is written."  Those who deal exclusively with poetry in print are missing entire dimensions of the art form:  intonation, tone, pace, etc.

     Suppose you want to improve dramatically as a poet, scholar, critic or editor.  The easiest way to do so is to do the opposite of what you're doing now--if only for a different, wider perspective.  The reasons for performing poetry are as numerous and vital as those for reading poetry.  Next to "Shakespeare's Law", the most important lesson is that friends, relatives, sycophants and, yes, applauding audiences lie to spare our feelings.  The only way to know if we are being ignored or enjoyed is to look the bastards in the eye while performing. 

     Seek out a diverse group.  We learn from the good and bad what works and what doesn't.  This isn't a classroom.  We likely won't have a mentor, per se.  What conclusions we gather come from the expressions and body language of our audience members.  If and when we do capture their rapt attention it's a rush, like multiple orgasms on Ecstasy after winning the lottery.  It's like the Nexus on Star Trek.  Describing it as "addicting" is like calling WWII "a disturbance".

     Newcomers to poetry performance ask the same three questions.  In fact, wondering about these is what delineates serious prospects from The Unteachables².

1.  How long will it take me to become a comfortable, competent presenter without formal training?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #66
    By "comfortable" we mean able to perform in front of strangers.  It's easy to say "Don't be shy!" but the fact is that many will find this intimidating.  Just bear in mind that, while onstage, you're a persona, not a person, and that many fine actors and actresses are extremely shy in real life.  Indeed, your shyness may work in your favor if it brings the ability to read reactions better than extroverts who come right out and ask for people's opinions.

     Don't worry about making a fool of yourself.  That is inevitable.  A rite of passage.  Every veteran can tell you horror stories³ of their own experiences.  You ask each of them why they continued and you get the same response:  "I don't know, but I'm glad I did."

    By "competent" we mean using the natural speech of a character who is, apparently, making it up on the fly, as opposed to reading, reciting or--heaven forfend!--"poet speaking" prepared text.  Needless to say, performance involves memorizing your work.  As for printed copies, you might keep one in your pocket or, better yet, in the hands of an offstage prompting aide.

    Those who learn to speak normally into a microphone usually do so within a year.  No more unmodulated droning or screaming!

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #93
2.  How long before audiences find my material interesting?

    Many new authors have one good story in them--the one that inspired them to become writers, perhaps--but soon fail to produce compelling follow-up material.  When do new poets learn that journal entries and lectures lose audiences?  When do they rise above the first person singular?  When do they discover humor, tragedy, drama and subtlety?

    For many poets, the answer is "never".  Those who do outgrow rants and navel-gazing tend to do so in their third year of performing.  IMHO, this lesson alone is worth the effort.

3.  How long before my work is considered poetry?

    Forever. 

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #120
    While the success rate of Print Worlders isn't significantly better, none of the verse I've seen onstage warrants scrutiny on the page.  Indeed, the ultimate compliment a listener can pay is to request the text of a poem you just performed.  This I have encountered only once (yet more proof that Nobody Reads Poetry).  That was for a copy of "Studying Savonarola".  Speaking of which, here we have a case of a question precluding answers.  For example, someone asking "Who is the greatest Wide Receiver in NFL history?" isn't posing a query;  they are merely stating a complete lack of interest in football.  There would be no point in trying to explain Jerry Rice to them.  Similarly, critics who complain about the slow, unimaginative beginning to Maz's signature masterpiece are just admitting that they've never been onstage without a script;  the concept of performance value would be as foreign to them as Romulan grammar.  This gap in knowledge and perception is enough to explain anyone's failure as a poet.

    Disregard for the elements of the craft is difficult enough to understand in academia.  Maybe they don't want to raise the bar higher than they can jump.  What is even more astounding is that slammers fly across the country to lose in the National Finals because they couldn't be bothered to read a few articles on technique--something they could do on the plane--that would tilt the balance in their favor.

    Are we so lazy, anti-science and anti-intellectual that we think educating ourselves is an unfair advantage?



Footnotes:

Gustave Flaubert
¹ - "I should rather be skinned alive than exploit my feelings in writing. I refuse to consider Art a drain-pipe for passion, a kind of chamberpot, a slightly more elegant substitute for gossip. No, no! Genuine poetry is not the scum of the heart."

- Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)

² - Are You Teachable?

     Barring diminished faculties, there are two types who cannot be taught, largely because they are oblivious to physical clues that they are boring us:

1Firebrands

     Activists with less commitment to art than to changing the world with their next sermon to the choir won't be interested in learning.  Or leaving.

2Solipsists

     Narcissists wedded to the notion that all of their random neuron sparks hold cosmic significance will have little interest in filtering them with intelligibility, let alone sense.

     In addition, there are two types who will not be taught:

1Corazoners

     Those who regard poetry as catharsis¹ will flounce out of a slam, muttering something along the lines of:

    "How dare you judge my feelings?!" 

     Few will return until and unless their view matures.

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #175
2Teachers

     Recently, on a high profile blog, a well-known university professor learned some key aspects of prosody that changed her perspective forever.  Unfortunately, it also changed her employment status, along with the venue's approach to open commentary.  The lesson could not be more clear:  educators educating themselves in public does not enhance their academic portfolios.  Not surprisingly, academia's view of slam and open mic events is jaundiced.  The deleterious effect of this prejudice is evident in every line of poetry presented by institutional publications.

     I realize this advice will find little fertile ground but if you have any interest in poetry grab a disguise, think up a clever pseudonym, and get your ass down to the nearest slam post-haste.  Trust me.

³ - Before heading out to my first open mic my mentor reminded me to breathe.  I thought it was odd advice--I have an autonomic nervous system for that, you know--until, you guessed it, I ended up pulling a Clinton, failing to inhale.  Think of a boated trout here.

     Things were worse on my third outing.  I blanked.  After the most awkward 15 seconds of my life I cheated, reaching into my back pocket to retrieve a hard copy.  I read the next section, shook my head and said:  "I can't believe I wrote such crap.  No wonder I forgot it."  The crowd laughed, I skipped that section and lived to chuckle about it later.



    Your feedback is appreciated!

    Please take a moment to comment or ask questions below.  Failing that, please mark the post as "funny", "interesting", "silly" or "dull".  Also, feel free to expand this conversation by linking to it on Twitter or Facebook.  Please let us know if you've included us on your blogroll so that we can reciprocate.

    If you would like to follow us, contact us confidentially or blog here as "Gray for a Day" please befriend us, "Earl Gray", on Facebook.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,

Earl Gray, Esquirrel



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

VidSlams and VidMics

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #113
    
     “A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.”

                                      – Orson Welles

     Let's face it.  Previous joint ventures involving verses and video have been almost exclusively disastrous.  With few exceptions, the dreaded music video, TV show (e.g. Monkees, Partridge Family, Banana Splits) or [Beatles] feature film has been an embarrassing display of clowns flailing and failing to be funny for the duration of a pop song.  Not only did the graphics not add to experience, they actually took something (i.e. sense, dignity) away from it.



    Curiosity got the better of me and I attended the premier of what is intended as an annual event:  a video slam (not to be confused with a slam video that one might see on YouTube).  These involve a collaboration between film makers/students and performing poets.  You, the poet, present your verse onstage while a supporting video plays on a huge screen behind you.  It is like that Molson's "I Am Canadian"" beer ad. 



     Literally, commercial poetry.  Or Spoken Word¹, at least. 

     Organizers insist that this New York creation is "sweeping the nation" and, for once, there might be something to the hype.  At our local version, attendance was much larger than most such inaugural initiatives--few of which metamorphosize into regular events as planned.  This was a slam but, due to the collaboration, employed none of the usual slam rules:  5 judges, no props, nudity², music or costumes.  Other than the usual 3-minute time limit, which was applied to both performances and supporting videos, it was an "anything goes" environment.  Many videos had instrumentals or sound efforts (heartbeats seemed to be a favorite).  Everyone present got to vote for their favorites.  The winner got a cash prize:  10% of the $10 entry fees collected.  (Were it not a competition we'd call it a "Video Open Mic" or "VidMic", rhyming with "Skid Bike".)

     The performers were videotaped so their recitation could be combined with the existing video into a final Internet-ready product as an insert, as a foreground or as a voiceover.



     Obviously, none of the efforts approached the brilliance of Pere Molina/Andy Garcia's rendition.  Most were misfires, poet and videographer presenting conflicting images.  No matter.  As an emerging operating environment, this combination of art forms will take a while to find its "killer app".  Look for it in a run down theater near you!



Footnotes:

¹ - Notice how cautious Spoken Word and many slam organizers are to avoid the term "poetry".  Ever wonder why?

² - Indeed, one of the videos did incorporate some [albeit brief and tasteful] nudity.




    Your feedback is appreciated!

    Please take a moment to comment or ask questions below.  Failing that, please mark the post as "funny", "interesting", "silly" or "dull".  Also, feel free to expand this conversation by linking to it on Twitter or Facebook.  Please let us know if you've included us on your blogroll so that we can reciprocate.

    If you would like to follow us, contact us confidentially or blog here as "Gray for a Day" please befriend us, "Earl Gray", on Facebook.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,

Earl Gray, Esquirrel


Monday, April 27, 2015

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #64
     If poetry came back to life today it would find itself declared "missing and presumed dead" in 1973, its spouse long remarried, its possessions gone, its photo gathering dust in the attic, and its children contemplating retirement.

     Christopher Ingraham's "Poetry is going extinct, government data show" cites the latest Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) in detailing poetry readership's decline.

     Before we get to that, though, we need to do a little housecleaning.  Poetry being alive or dead is determined by the demand (tind) for unaccompanied contemporary¹ English language poetry.  We are acutely aware of its gross oversupply and verse's success in other cultures and media (i.e. song lyrics).  If we cannot cite a single iconic poem written in the last half century the matter is settled.

     The first chart shows a steady decline from 17% to 6.7% over the last twenty years.  The problem is that the survey asks about poetry, not just contemporary poetry.  Most, if not all, of the decline is in classical works (if only because interest in contemporary poetry couldn't get much lower).  My guess is that the verse of William Shakespeare, the Brownings, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, and Robert Frost will always outsell the texts of Charles Bukowski, Maya Angelou, Carol Ann Duffy, and Billy Collins by a factor of sixty to one but let's go with a ridiculously conservative estimate.  Let's say it's only six to one.  That means that less than 1% of the population reads contemporary poetry, a figure about equal to the number of those producing it.

     Funny, that.

     Stranger still, the number of contemporary readers could, for all we know, have bottomed out with the advent of the world wide web in the early 1990s.  Since then, readership might have risen from one insignificant fraction of 1% to a higher insignificant fraction of 1%.  If so, that's progress!


     The problem with this second chart is that categories are being compared to subcategories.  For example, why are jazz and classical concerts separate categories?  Leaving aside the fact that we're switching eras, cultures and languages, comparing a superset like poetry to a subset of sung storylines like opera is as ridiculous as comparing movies or novels to glosas.  Even if we only include rock operas (e.g. "Tommy", "The Wall"), forgetting musicals (why?), opera is viewed by many times more anglophones than poetry.

     As the article says, the "decline in poetry readership is unique among the arts."

     I would have said "unique in human history" but "among the arts" will do.


     Fluctuations in the third chart "follow the contours of the academic year", which "suggests that much of the online interest in poetry is driven by students looking for help with their coursework, rather than adults reading it for pleasure."

     This is crucial because students are, essentially, a captive audience.  To argue that poetry is alive (or that a volume of it is well received) because 10,000 students are obliged to purchase the same textbook is ludicrous.  By this "reasoning" the world's most popular pastime would be paying taxes.

     When applied to poetry, such web searches will become less relevant.  Those few who read poetry are unlikely to Google it;  they will click on links in social media, emails, referrals or bookmarks.

     These charts tell us that today's poetry is dead and earlier verse is fading at an astonishing rate.  Of course, some will ignore what has been proven and blithely continue pumping artless dreck into the void, causing us to find some relief in the fact that Nobody Reads Poetry.  Deniers will go on writing and publishing disingenuous nonsense like Robert Peake's "US Poetry Readership in Tens of Millions?²".

     As for the rest of us, rather than show contempt for contemporary poetry by stonewalling its demise, we will work to reincarnate it.  Otherwise, we might well see all English language poetry go the way of whist³.



Footnotes:

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #115
¹ - We are interested in earlier poetry as an extension of our primary concern.  One particularly silly blogger (who cut off comments for lack of supporting argument) actually wrote:  "if you have to keep declaring, over and over, that poetry is dead, it can’t actually be dead."  Substitute the name "Elvis" for "poetry" there.  As long as there are climate deniers there will be scientists, armed with indisputable evidence, here to tell us the truth.

     Speaking of veracity, when confronted with the demonstrable and obvious why do so many otherwise intelligent poets react like Fox News truthers? 

² - Where to start?

  1. Poetry's decline is hardly slow.  What charts was Peake reading?


  2. Yes, there were only 26.7 million Americans in 1855 but, even in raw numbers, there were still more poetry readers than today, including many more then-contemporary poetry fans.


  3. The 20% of Americans in 1855 who were illiterate didn't read poetry (duh!) but they heard and could recite more of it than the average MFA graduate today.


  4. Did going from per capita percentages to raw numbers fool anyone?


  5. Plummeting from 17% down to 6.7% in 20 short years is described as "may not be keeping pace"?  Really?  And might the bubonic plague have been "stalled population growth"?


  6. Do those millions of poetry readers memorize, quote or recite any of this verse, as we see in all other cultures and periods?


  7. Is there any practical chance of two of those millions meeting as strangers and being able to discuss a contemporary poem they both recognize?  As they might a movie, book, television show, or sports event?


  8. As for post-apocalyptic scenarios, not one of the characters in "Mad Max" was shown reading poetry.  Perhaps the latest installment in that series, "Fury Road", due out this month, will feature verse.  I'm not betting on it, though.


  9. What does being "able to be deeply moved, provoked, and excited by words alone" have to do with poetry as opposed to rhetoric or prose?  Exactly how bad are the speakers and novelists on Peake's planet?

³ - A pastime replaced by contract bridge at the same time music on the radio replaced poetry.



Earl the Squirrel's Rule #24

    Your feedback is appreciated!

    Please take a moment to comment or ask questions below.  Failing that, please mark the post as "funny", "interesting", "silly" or "dull".  Also, feel free to expand this conversation by linking to it on Twitter or Facebook.  Please let us know if you've included us on your blogroll so that we can reciprocate.

    If you would like to follow us, contact us confidentially or blog here as "Gray for a Day" please befriend us, "Earl Gray", on Facebook.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,

Earl Gray, Esquirrel


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Has Social Media Been Good For Poetry?

"...most 'poets' are stupid and lazy. Not only do they take shortcuts, but they get lost doing it."

- Zachariah Wells on the Vox Populism blog, 2009-12-7



Earl the Squirrel's Rule #7
Blogger Carmine Starnino¹ asks "Has Social Media Been Good For Poetry?" and David McGimpsey answers:

"My anecdotal psychological insight into this is that Facebook and social media has made younger people generally better poets than they used to be, and the reason why is that now it becomes a thing that people just know how to do² without being told how to do it: How to materialize the self."

Respondent B. Glen Rotchin challenges such narcissism effectively with this riposte: "Poetry is the materialization of the self? A projection of a better you? So a poem is just another kind of Selfie?"

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #169
 Unfortunately, Mr. Rotchin commits a similar synecdochical fallacy in continuing: "Silly me, I always thought it had more to do with truth-telling."

In fact, most poetry is fictional[ized]. Altogether now:

"Poetry is a mode of speech."

Having dispensed with the Content Regents, the larger question remains:

Has Social Media Been Good For Poetry?

The simple answer is "Not yet, obviously."  Social media "promotes" everything--everything from poetry to needlepoint to zamba, each at the expense of everything else, resulting in little or no significant, long term engagement in any particular activity other than social media itself.

The question becomes:

Will Social Media Be Good For Poetry?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #69
We are talking about an opportunity unseen since the primordial campfire: appeal to the entire tribe. Via the Internet, the performance or text can reach every anglophone on the planet. In recent centuries publishers have filtered access, ideally based on quality but all too often affected by pre-existing influence. Today, more than ever, people are left to make their own decisions. What few reviews there are might be ignored as blurbs.

"But there are no filters," some might argue, "to strain out the diarists (like David McGimpsey), 'truth-tellers' (like Mr. Rotchen) and others with no concept of technique or audience.  Social media usually includes no publishers, no editors, no reviewers, no critics."

"No filters?"  If anything, there may be too many filters. The only way that a piece is going to "go viral" and reach a significant portion of the public is if strangers--each of them a filter--Share or Retweet it. Think about your own experience:  How often do non-poets pass on contemporary verses? Memes? Sure. Kittens and puppies?  Hell, yes. But poems?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #93
With good reason, pundits, along with this squirrel, bemoan the proliferation of mindless distractions (e.g. reality television, pseudo-celebrity gossip, video games, Taylor Swift), the catastrophic drop in standards and education, all leading to the inevitable result: Nobody Reads Poetry. Zero successes in 50+ years is an abysmal record, unprecedented in human history. Parenthetically, paradoxically and, above all, perversely, inattention may actually help poetry's cause now.  Think in terms of the Slingshot Effect.

To wit, this isn't like a poetry 'zine pumping out their top submissions or a contest with a guaranteed winner; the best of a bad lot will not suffice. Only an entertaining³ YouTube video--no, text will not do the job--of a brilliantly written and performed poem will be passed along by enough Facebookers or Retweeters. In theory, at least, the fact that the public has rarely seen the competent, let alone the good, means that the uniquely great could stand out and excite them enough to show their friends.

The chain reaction begins.



Footnotes:

¹ - If this name seems familiar, Carmine Starnino was the one who lost the "Poetry Cage Match" to Christian Bök so badly that web sites have politely removed the video.

I found it interesting that, by Zachariah Wells' count, six metrical pieces--none of them causing a ripple--in four entire volumes is enough to qualify someone not only as a "formalist" but as a champion of that aesthetic.  Mr. Starnino is a fine teacher and a thought-provoking blogger but I don't see him claiming to be a technician or a debater.

² - This is the dumbest statement ever made.

³ - If it helps, think of "entertaining" in the broadest possible sense.




Friday, April 24, 2015

Whoda thunk?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #64
     Nanette Asimov, niece of Isaac, reports of "Shakespeare getting little love from American colleges."  Apparently, only 4 of 52 major U.S. universities require even one course on the Bard for its English majors. 

     It's almost like there is a prejudice against things we don't use or don't think we use anymore.  Why, next we'll hear that our children are not learning Latin and handwriting!
    
     Gee, who could have predicted that contemporary poetry being dead for more than half a century would begin to adversely affect interest in the classics?



    Your feedback is appreciated!

    Please take a moment to comment or ask questions below or, failing that, mark the post as "funny", "interesting", "silly" or "dull".  Also, feel free to expand this conversation by linking to it on Twitter or Facebook.  Please let us know if you've included us on your blogroll so that we can reciprocate.

    If you would like to follow us, contact us confidentially or blog here as "Gray for a Day" please befriend us, "Earl Gray", on Facebook.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,

Earl Gray, Esquirrel