Inside this plain covered, weathered old paperback is something that I think might approach late sixties period poetry perfection. I was shocked into a state of joyful awe when I first read The Mason Williams Reading Matter.
This is a stream-of-consciousness tour de force. Doodles, photographs, poems, anecdotes, short stories and odd items coat the pages of this mind-bendingly awesome work.
Black Craft offers this excellent Edgar Allan Poe hoodie with a quote from his poem "A Dream Within A Dream" on the back.
The Library of Congress's website hosts a high-resolution scan of a rare edition of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" illustrated by Gustave Doré. The title-page is at page 11, the list of illustrations is on page 14.
The illustrations are amazing, like no other illustrated Poe I've seen. I've collected my favorites below, and there are a lot of them -- honestly, it was impossible to choose.
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Zack sez, "Cartoonist Julian Peters has posted nine pages of a new comic adapting the entire text of T.S. Eliot's paean to loneliness, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.' The adaptation plays with literal versions of many of the things described in the poem, capturing its humor and poignance. Peters will be doing more pages based on feedback, so let him know if you enjoy this one."
If you want to have your guts ripped out through your eyeballs, have a look at "Lies I've Told My 3 Year Old Recently," a short, sweet poem by Raul Gutierrez (possibly this Raul Gutierrez, but I'd be grateful for correction if you know better) that has a barb buried in it. Here's how it starts:
Trees talk to each other at night.
All fish are named either Lorna or Jack.
Before your eyeballs fall out from watching too much TV, they get very loose.
My favorite line is: "If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky."
Update: That's the right Gutierrez; I've updated the link below to go to his site.
Torgo's parody of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven is a particularly well-done example of the genre, which has many entrants (it's the Harlem Shake of poetry!):
Turning back, I saw them seated; feeling injured and defeated
I approached and wanly greeted them: "Sylvester! Ms. Lenore!
I sincerely hope you're thriving - had I known you were arriving
I'd have sent out for reviving frappuccinos from the store;
Frappuccinos, danish pastries, and spring water from the store -
Next time, why not call before?"
The actor sat there, massive, with his craggy face impassive,
And it seemed that I'd established neither good will nor rapport.
The signs were not propitious; I thought it certainly suspicious
That he came in train with vicious, feared and cynical Lenore -
Still I leaned across the table and began to speak - "Lenore-"
Quoth the agent: "Rambo IV!"
A "Snowball" is a poem "in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer." Nossidge built an automated Snowball generator that uses Markov Chains, pulling text from Project Gutenberg. It's written in C++, with code on GitHub. The results are rather beautiful poems (these ones are "mostly Dickens"):
Ross sez, "I was reading Thomas Meyer's great new translation of Beowulf when the annual showing of The Grinch came on. The potential for a mash-up overwhelmed me, and this is the result."
Every Scylding in Heorot liked mead a lot,
But Grendel the beast, roaring outside did not.
Grendel hated Scyldings, the whole Danish clan.,
Can I say why? I don’t think I can.
He spied on the Scyldings, he fumed and he wailed.,
He watched as in Heorot they drank mead and drank ale.
Nothing says Christmas like jazz poetry, and nothing says jazz poetry like Lord Buckley's appearance on You Bet Your life. If you only watch one 10-minute video of a jazz poet trading quips with Groucho Marx this holiday season, make it this one. Bonus: a totally unsubstantiated comment on the YouTube page says that Buckley's partner is actor Amy Poehler's grandmother.
Boing Boing is committed to bringing you your annual portion of Lord Buckley's inspirational beat poetry. Earlier this month, I posted his version of "A Christmas Carol". Now, here's "The Nazz," Lord Buckley's indispensible biography of Jesus Christ. This is all the Christmas cheer anyone needs. With this alone, we could rebuild civilization from rubble.
See also: Dig Infinity!, a biography of Lord Buckley
Patrick sez, "Lord Buckley was a comedian/storyteller who performed in the '50s. His version of A Christmas Carol is an utter delight."
Above: Christian Morgenstern’s 1905 poem “Fish’s Night Song.”
Heinrich Plett in Literary Rhetoric, points out the obvious: “the referentiality of this isographemic configuration is polysemous.”
A bit of genius unsourced net.stuff: if Shakespeare wrote the Hokey Pokey. "The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt/Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about."
Update: And we have a source! It's from a "Washington Post Style Invitational contest that asked readers to submit "instructions" for something (anything), but written in the style of a famous person. The winning entry was The Hokey Pokey (as written by William Shakespeare)", "Written by Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls, Maryland, and submitted by Katherine St. John." - Thanks, princessalex!
From the year 2000, Ben Engelsberg sez, "Mike Keith forumlated this brilliant poem using all 100 scrabble tiles for each of 6 verses in iambic pentameter."
A Scrabble-Tile Poem (Thanks, Ben!)
Please read Robert Browning's Sordello and let us know if you agree with the sentiments expressed below.
Robert Browning spent seven years composing Sordello, a 40,000-word narrative poem about strife between Guelphs and Ghibellines in 13th-century Italy. It was not received well.
Tennyson said, “There were only two lines in it that I understood, and they were both lies: ‘Who will may hear Sordello’s story told’ and ‘Who would has heard Sordello’s story told.’”
Thomas Carlyle wrote, “My wife has read through ‘Sordello’ without being able to make out whether ‘Sordello’ was a man, or a city, or a book.”
Douglas Jerrold opened the book while convalescing from an illness and began to fear that his mind had been destroyed. “O God, I AM an idiot!” he cried, sinking back onto the sofa. He pressed the book on his wife and sister; when Mrs. Jerrold said, “I don’t understand what this man means; it is gibberish,” her husband exclaimed, “Thank God, I am NOT an idiot!”
FirstSecond's new Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists is one of those rare parental treasures: a picture book that kids and parents can really enjoy together.Read the rest
Boing Boing pal Andrea James writes, "Interesting backstory. The original choral work "Sleep" was set to Robert Frost's 'Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.' Then came the legal tussle. Eric Whitacre explains..."
After a LONG legal battle (many letters, many representatives), the estate of Robert Frost and their publisher, Henry Holt Inc., sternly and formally forbid me from using the poem for publication or performance until the poem became public domain in 2038. I decided that I would ask my friend and brilliant poet Charles Anthony Silvestri ... to set new words to the music I had already written."So," Andrea writes, "Silvestri created a poem with the exact cadence of the Frost work. The result is this. I always love these kinds of crowdsourced art in response to these kinds of creative disputes!"