Thursday, September 02, 2010

What rhymes with lunatic?

Some days ago I made an off-hand reference to a poem by Yeats. The ever-clever, and highly utilitarian Meredith-the-Godsend gave me a quizzical look. (I am used to those by now; they come most often when I talk to myself in the office a bit too loudly)

M-t-G's look did not say "pipe down, I'm working here" as much as it did "what the hell are you talking about over there bucko."

Aha! The moments I live for! When I can pontificate (at length!) from my superior reservoir of knowledge since I am older than M-t-G by a factor of 600 and have the laugh lines to prove it.

"Yeats," said I. "It's a poem by Yeats. You know, the guy who wrote The Widening Gyre." Well, of course he didn't write The Widening Gyre, he wrote The Second Coming of which "turning and turning in the widening gyre" is a line.

Ok, the superior reservoir of knowledge obviously needs to be skimmed like a swimming pool after a downpour, but still you get the point.

I went on and on (and on!) about the value of reading poems. How they Enlighten! Make you Smart! Witty! Educated! I might even have issued a reading list. Threatened a quiz.

And now it turns out that reading too much poetry can turn you into a lunatic.

(link lifted ruthlessly from BookNinja)



This certainly explains why all English Lit majors are crazy.

*hides Lit degree under a pile of rainbow-striped socks & freeze dried brine shrimp eggs*


Sarah W said...

You mean I might be wrong about the multiple references to ecclesiastical omphaloskepsis in "Jabberwocky"?

But I've already sent a letter to the Archbishop . . .

angela robbins said...

He can read some of my poetry; at least SOMEONE would be reading it and giving me feedback. Wait that sounded a wee bit desperate...
What I meant to say is: bad, bad crazy man.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. This reminds me of a girl last semester who demanded to know what the correct interpretation of a poem was (unable to recollect which poem exactly, but this was a Modernist class). A majority of us stared at her while the professor attempted to explain that there were countless interpretations. And she further elaborated, explaining that she just wanted to know what the poem really meant. That singular meaning that would explain the writer's true intents.

I might have said "Welcome to the English major!"

larainydays said...

A line of beautiful poetry is something you can pluck from your brain and admire. Like a ring on your finger, the flash of brilliance is immensely cheering.

steeleweed said...

1) There is no limit to stupidity.

2) When his mind was made up,
there's no point in confusing him with facts.

3) If it weren't for poetry - reading and writing it - I would have gone made decades ago. Of course, there are those who think I have.....

"I've always been crazy (i.e.; a poet) but it's kept me from going insane." - Waylon Jennings

A3Writer said...

That's akin to people believe Poe murdered someone after reading "The Tell-Tale Heart". said...

It sill pisses me off that almost no one recognizes the title source of the movie No Country for Old Men. But I KNOW you do. :-)

Anne R. Allen said...

I think the nincompoop from Sheffield proves the opposite--if you don't know how to read poetry (i.e. don't understand metaphor) you're in danger of becoming a lunatic.

Look at all those people who take ancient religious texts literally. They cause a lot of wars. Literal-mindedness may be the root of all evil. Or at least a lot of nincompoopery.

dylan said...

Dear Ms. Reid

What rhymes with lunatic?

Moon a chick?

Prune a wick?

Croon a lick?

Soon a flick?

Damn, this poetry stuff is tough.


ilyakogan said...

I also think that this agent represents a wide range of people who clearly support murder, rape, and drug consumption. There is a place in hell for people like you, Janet Reid! I will be picketing your agency in about a week unless my tricycle breaks down on my way from Alberta Canada!

JD Horn said...

I just want to know where he stands on shark baiting. :)

Dana said...

Okay, that's it. No one, but no one, picks on Seamus Heaney while I'm around.

::pulling off acrylic nails and kicking off shoes::

Ten points off for unnecessary literalness.

angela robbins said...

can i get a cormac, ghosty?

Dr. Cheryl Carvajal said...

I've always heard that WRITING poetry can turn you into a lunatic--or was it that lunatics were more likely to be poets?

All I know is their average life span is far shorter than that of novelists and playwrights (and we can thank the later Romantics for that!)...

Elisabeth Black said...

"shark attack" almost rhymes with "lunatic"

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Roses are Red
and the pettals taste nice.
Unlike sheep,
Goats seldom get lice.

Janet likes a poem
that tickles her dome.
I just like the cute little tail
that's right down the trail.

Insta-poem by William E. Goat, III, esq.

Ricky Bush said...

I knew it, I knew it. I knew there was a reason that I've never read much poetry. Didn't keep the lunacy at bay, but maybe it helped.

Steve Stubbs said...

One wonders if Heaney is protesting bullfighting or if he is bull-something-else-ing. He is right about hidden meanings in poetry, though. Somewhere in his poetry Yeats writes of gods “whose faces were old when the earth was young.” Lots of people see this as an astonishing use of language, but I know better. It is for sure a plug for Olay Regenerist. Doesn’t move me to protest, though. I use the product myself, thanks to Yeats’ poetic recommendation, but it did not give me Yeats’ Olympian mastery of language. And I must pleasantly differ with you on the word ‘writer.’ If Yeats was a writer the rest of us are mere children scribbling incoherently. If we are writers he was something far more than a writer.

BTW try his prose, not just his poetry. His ESSAYS AND INTRODUCTIONS is a great book but his AUTOBIOGRAPHIES is a tour de force. I intend to be buried with that book. That and a collection of poems by Edna St. Vincent Milay. With them to keep me company all eternity will just be a passing moment spent pleasantly whether in Heaven or in Hell.