Tag Archives: poetry

Notes on Field Notes

. The release of Tyler Chadwick’s Field Notes on Language and Kinship was, in my mind, cause for celebration for several reasons. Here are a few:

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Most Important Mormon Literary Writers, 1830-1890

Lists are fun usually because they are so subjective and arbitrary. The other day I was distracting myself from more “serious” work by thinking about the most important pre-Manifesto Mormon literary writers and posting the top five to my Tumblr … Continue reading

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in verse # 29 : of the devil’s party

William Blake was Milton’s son.  But it was no easy birth.  In his fine article on Milton’s prosody, John Creaser describes how Milton was able to work so well within the conventions of blank verse.  Creaser begins by summarizing the … Continue reading

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in verse # 28 : the pun is meatier than the surd

Sitting at home alone in bed when I was 13, and unable to go out because I was undergoing the aftermath of rheumatic fever, I entertained myself with old copies of Reader’s Digest.  One of the things I digested thoroughly … Continue reading

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in verse # 23 : mighty line versus ordered speech

It was Kit Marlowe who awakened in Will Shakespeare a hunger for a dramatic speech more nearly reflecting ordinary English speech.  It was Will Shakespeare who made it possible for Kris Kristofferson to write and sing the following lyrics as … Continue reading

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in verse # 20 : blank verse

Blank verse — the unrhymed iambic pentameter so brilliantly deployed by Shakespeare in his later plays — is an invention of the English renaissance, and specifically of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-47), who used it to revise and strengthen … Continue reading

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in verse # 19 : a hideous and intolerable allegory

One of the books I took with me to Seoul, Randy Lopez goes home,[i] proves that allegory and fable are alive and well in twenty-first century American literature.  Two newspaper clippings I’ve been carrying around since May 8th prove that … Continue reading

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in verse # 18 : a monstrous fable

Like many a medieval manuscript, Piers the plowman has no title as such.  Walter W. Skeat, who gave it that title, notes, however, that, in the manuscript he used as the basis for his Oxford edition, “we find here [in … Continue reading

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in verse # 17 : a fair field full of folk

I could hardly call my younger self a political junkie, and I would never claim that I had a sophisticate’s understanding of poetry in elementary school.  I tried, and tried again, as often as I could, to understand how poems … Continue reading

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in verse # 16 : rime royal

In “The horrors of the German language,” chapter 8 of his Words and rules, Steven Pinker reminds us that “no one is biologically disposed to speak a particular language.  The experiments called immigration and conquest, in which children master languages … Continue reading

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