Mood: who cares?
<orwell>Thank goodness we don’t have prisoners at Gitmo (or elsewhere). Prisoners are liable to be mistreated, maybe even tortured, but we’re just hosting some detainees. They’ve been detained. Traffic was heavy, and they’re running late. </orwell>
Even relatively liberal sources, such as NPR, use this word.
Whoever frames the terms of the debate, wins.
Mood: artifically sweetened
The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/index.php): “The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.” Most famously this is the home of the Wayback Machine, containing archives of (often vanished) web pages dating to 1996. They also host archives of moving images, audio files, text files, software, and education resources. I guess I can stop cruising around the web for a while. I’ll be spending my next few years here.
Poetry readings every day: could be a description of heaven or hell. I’ve been going to readings for twenty years now, and taken part in quite a few myself. I think I’m qualified to offer a little advice to the readers, in self-defense if nothing else.
- You may say a few words to introduce a piece or define unfamiliar terms, but don’t explain the poem. If the poem doesn’t speak for itself, you have more work to do. Do not make the intro longer than the poem.
- Don’t frame a poem with both an introduction and an epilogue. Go on to the next one.
- Don’t apologize for a poem. If you don’t like it, why are you making us listen to it?
- Don’t dedicate every poem to a member of your writing group.
- Pick out your poems beforehand. Nothing says, “I didn’t care enough to prepare” like making the audience wait while you decide what to read.
- Rehearse. At least once. We all like to surprise ourselves in the act of writing, but surprising yourself in the act of reading does not make for a smooth delivery.
- You want to “perform” your poetry? Go for it; I like risk-taking. The best you can hope for, however, is that only 20% of the audience will find it pretentious.
- Do try to animate your delivery a little. My computer writes poetry, but I don’t let it read it out loud.
- Don’t come in late, or leave the moment you’ve read your poems.
- Don’t go over your allotted time (or, for an open mic, your allotted number of poems). Don’t say, “just two more,” then read three or four. That’s just cruel.
The 21st century is no place for a soul with taste. Remember those medieval years, when we were the center and purpose of the cosmos? We meant something then. Life, short and painful, was a thin film over unspeakable joys and unbearable terrors. We shared our world with now-extinct demons, angels, ghosts, fairies, a host of pseudo-humans, and they were obsessed with us. We need those incommensurable equals; we need monsters and ministers. We listen for them among the stars, but they live only in the middle of things. We looked too hard, and every center disappeared.
If you’re teaching a computer to write poetry, need to name characters for a role-playing game, or just enjoy browsing specialized dictionaries, COTSE-Word Lists is a place you’ll want to visit. Among the useful and/or entertaining lists: nouns from the Iliad, common passwords to avoid, dog-related words, medieval German names, movie characters, and words from Monty Python. No definitions, and no citations, just the lists.
Midway upon life’s journey I found myself in a dark parking lot, having lost my Toyota. A guard offered to help me look. We kept the wall to our left and followed it down, circle after circle. When I found my car, I drove a long and winding way to the top, where I met Betty. We chatted, then I came home and wrote a book about it. That’s why I’m late today.