From Higgledy-Piggledy to Idiosyncracy: A Brief, Light Study of Metrics and the Poet’s Reception in Wendy Cope’s “Emily Dickinson”

Higgledy-piggledy is metrically identical to Emily Dickinson. So is idiosyncracy.

Wendy Cope used these sonic correspondences niftily in her poem “Emily Dickinson“:

Higgledy-piggledy
Emily Dickinson
Liked to use dashes
Instead of full stops.

Nowadays, faced with such
Idiosyncrasy,
Critics and editors
Send for the cops.

One charming and effective technique in the poem is how the first stanza identifies E.D. with higgledy-piggledy-ness and then graduates her, in the second stanza to idiosyncracy.

This mirrors how E.D. was received historically: at first intolerably unconventional, and decades later undeniably artistic. It’s also how most of us individual readers experience her poems: first as a “What the *&^% is this alphabet soup?” And months (or years) later as a “This soup is pretty #$%^ good–never had anything quite like it!”

Well-written, Ms. Cope.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Reddit Overlords

I logged in yesterday to find that one out of seven visitors to this blog ever had shown up to see the Jane Austen-bashing post. That’s a bit like thinking you’ve written Hairy Pooter and the Pisser of Asscanbam and then receiving Ms. Rowling’s actual sales figures in the mail. Whoa.

Which is to say, I’m delighted to welcome all of you finding your way here from the Reddit link. I hope you’ll poke around, find a few other things you like, come back again soon, and maybe even subscribe.

Video Games Make You a Better Writer

MarioIf this piece is creditable, my nine-year-old will *definitely* become Super Mario Puzo, or Waluigi Pirandello, or James Fenimore Koopa, penning classics like The Princess Peach Bride, I Know Why the Caged Birdo Sings, Frog & Toadsworth Are Friends, and The Bronze Bowser.

One-Up, Buddy.

The Best-Written Recall Notice for Plush Reproductive Organs You Will Read Today

uterus-hazard2I Heart Guts sells the cutest, smiliest plush internal organs you’ve ever seen. In 2008, they discovered that their plush uterus “failed a pull test.”

In response, they wrote:

The ovaries may detach when pulled, becoming a potential small part choking hazard for young children. No one has been harmed.

Three quick thoughts: 1) In or out of context, that is an awesome sentence. 2) Thank goodness the ovaries haven’t harmed anyone! And 3) I Heart Guts’s response to the situation appears exemplary, and you should check out their full array of cuddly viscera.

(Found via Mental Floss at I Heart Guts.)

Beaten With Her Own Shinbone! (Six Famous Writers Diss Jane Austen)

When it comes to Pride & Prejudice, these six apparently take pride in their prejudice

“Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point…no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.” ~ Charlotte Bronte

“What calm lives they had, those people! No worries about the French Revolution or the crashing struggle of the Napoleonic Wars. Only manners controlling natural passion as far as they could, together with cultural explanations of any mischances.” ~Winston Churchill

“…vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention…without genius, wit or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and so narrow. Suicide is more respectable.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I’d give all she ever wrote for half what the Brontës wrote.” ~Virginia Woolf

“[T]his old maid typifies ‘personality’ instead of character, the sharp knowing in apartness instead of togetherness, and she is, to my feeling, English in the bad, mean snobbish sense of the word.” ~D. H. Lawrence

“[H]er books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone!” ~Mark Twain

(All quotes found at Mental Floss.)