Thursday, September 08, 2005

Word Snobs, Unite for Exercise 4

Find 10 errors among the following sentences. Don't post your answers. After the list, I'll ask you for examples of other things to post. Here we go (I'll post answers by Tuesday):

1. Candace Bergen now does commercials for the Dallas Morning News.
2. She graduated Texas Women's University and John Hopkins medical school.
3. The scientists at the Center for Disease Control warn of a possible epidemic.
4. The dinosour's bones were displayed at the Smithsonian Institute.
5. For decades, the most famous athalete in the world was Muhammed Ali.

Now for the "other things." I've been very moved by a lot of the writing from and about New Orleans and the other destroyed cities in the South. What have you read that you'd like to share? Provide the link, if you can. I highly recommend this column from Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. And this from blogger Barnett.

BTW, I tried and failed to find an email for the writer Blake Bailey, whose story on Slate.com about losing everything in Katrina I linked on a previous post. Just as one writer to another, I'd like to gather some supplies for him. So if anyone can ferret out a contact, would you let me know? I even emailed the editors at Slate.com, but no response as yet.

Your Bukowski-style poems were tops. Many A-level efforts. And that you bothered at all astonishes me. It was a week in which I found it hard to tear myself away from CNN for more than a few minutes. So way to work on that "resistance to work" thang, y'all. Among the ones whose simplicity and originality I especially dug:

Ms. Jared's "Lunchroom" opened with:

even in august
with the kansas humidity
bearing down
the cafeteria still
gave off a chill
Don't we all know that new-kid terror?

Stabledoor's "Atlanta" had this great line: "We paid rent but the roaches were our landlords."

Talley wrote about a beach resort and being 5:

I waited and ate cherries from their Manhattans
as long as I could, but I finally fell asleep
on the floor
behind the couch.
Zuleme's poem starts with:
how did we manage
seven of us
one bathroom,
my father, a plumber,
never finished the second.
Like they say, the cobbler's children wear no shoes.

The Procrastinator (putting off whatever else he should be doing) writes this telling phrase:
Beside a Pepsi can is
A green glass ashtray
filled with the day’s work
The last lines of Maurinsky's poem about being a child in an Irish bar are beautifully cinematic:

We are seven and eight
we can pour a perfect pint

As the sun goes down
The Club fills up

The men are three deep at the bar
and we dodge lit cigarettes
as we push through the men,
playing tag
and hide and seek
until next week
when we come back to the bar,
the dive
the pit
The Club
Please go back to the comments area for Week 3 and read them all. You will laugh and choke up and if you're like me, you'll think, dang, there are some poets out there I'd like to meet someday. If I had a criticism of anything, it was only about editing further, about murdering those children. Hone to the bone. It's something I work on constantly in my own work.

Thanks to all who've been working in this unusual medium week to week. I'm deeply impressed by your efforts. And you know I'd tell you otherwise if I weren't. I hope you're enjoying this. The progress is gradual and constant. And yes, we will take a Fall Break in October!

Later, sweet taters.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Frances said...

I've been immensely struck by a blog I frequently read: Planned Obsolescence by Kathleen Fitzpatrick. From the worries about her parents to the weird dreams she's been having about it all, she gives a gripping account of how she lived through it al the last week and a half.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Ianqui said...

DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED WITH #2. (I'll leave it at that for now.)

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did read a lot of comments that blamed the victims who hadn't left their homes, mostly poor people.

Related to that I found a list of what it does mean to be poor. http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/003704.html

The writing is simple yet powerful. It made me take one of those involuntary sharp breaths you take when you stray upon something that has been said just right.

I did cry and I did nod at my childhood while reading that list. Enough said.

-E.

11:55 AM  
Blogger theprofessor said...

E:
That list you linked, "Being Poor is..." should be required reading for Barbara Bush.

And every other person who asks "Why didn't they leave before the storm?"

I'll add a few: "Being poor is sleeping with gloves on in the winter... deciding between bus fare or walking to work and being able to buy coffee on the way... "trading checks" with your mom before payday... knowing where the food bank is."

12:08 PM  
Blogger Cranky Puppy said...

I find it sad that Olbermann can't simply commiserate with the victims of the hurricane and do what he can to help and to encourage others to help, rather than exploiting them to try to make a political point. That's vile.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Greg - Cowboy in the Jungle said...

You wanted comments and stories from New Orleans...?

I was at the drug store in line behind a woman who was from NOLA. She was havig to get scrips filled for her aging mother and her husband, kids, their spouses and children. I have NEVER seen a $1000.00 total at a pharmacy after the insurance kicked in. This lady bought $1000 worth of drugs for her family because theirs all got washed out to sea. WOW!

She did relate to me a story I will share, but I'm going to post it on my blog instead of taking up all of yours.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous kgirl said...

Check out these two pieces by Tim Wise:

http://www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise/Katrina1.html

http://www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise/Katrina2.html

In fact, check out his entire website at www.timwise.org and read through some of his previous writings, particularly "Overclass Blues". Written two years ago, it is especially cogent today.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous kgirl said...

Here's a powerful account by San Francisco tourists trapped by Katrina, then by martial law, in New Orleans.

http://www.counterpunch.com/bradshaw09062005.html

10:22 AM  
Blogger theprofessor said...

Here's Tom Feran's column from today's Plain-Dealer. You think FEMA is a joke? Read this:

http://www.cleveland.com/living/plaindealer/tom_feran/index.ssf?/base/living/1126258612248010.xml&coll=2

11:05 AM  
Anonymous zuleme said...

ooeee, I want to be a disaster action kid!
http://www.fema.gov/kids/

Just think, somebody got paid a mint to produce this stuff.
I love the parts about how to prepare for your pets. Leave them in a bathroom with food and water. And it's all so jolly like a children's tv show.

And then, when you see your house under water you will have killed your poor trusting animals following directions from FEMA!

Zuleme

11:58 AM  
Anonymous kgirl said...

Check out what our beloved Tom DeLay had to say to some young boys from Louisiana "camping out" at Reliant Park this morning.

http://blogs.chron.com/domeblog/

Not typically a fan of the Houston Chron, I am, however, impressed that they've been printing a special edition each day, filled with news from all over Louisiana, and delivering it to all evacuees at the shelters here in Houston.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous ita said...

For those of you who can read spanish, I recommend this one by Uriel Quesada.
http://www.nacion.com/ancora/2005/septiembre/04/ancora10.html
(use bugmenot.com for password)

10:07 PM  
Blogger Gene said...

your request: "What have you read that you'd like to share?"

this one (Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky, two San Francisco paramedics who were staying in the French Quarter for a convention, when Katrina came to visit) stands out. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the second page .. past a few comments of others:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/sfsocialists/3687.html

6:42 AM  
Blogger Cranky Puppy said...

Hard to disagree with Tom Wise's contention that most of the Keating Five should probably still be doing time. However, it's worth mentioning that the photo captions he talks about were descriptions of the photos written by the photographers who took them, not added later in some media conspiracy to make it look like "White people find things. Black people steal things," as he tries to make his readers believe.

Accuracy should be as important as grammar.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous kgirl said...

Cranky -

We can't assume the photogs wrote the cutlines that ended up on the pages. The page copy editor has ultimate responsibility for those words, and typically will tweak them as necessary, sometimes re-write completely.

Our eldest daughter is a talented photographer. But she can't write for shit. No page copy editor worth his/her salt would print any cutline she would write, unaltered.

3:45 PM  
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8:51 PM  

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