Category Archives: General

The Sound of a Sentence

As Constance Hale says

The playful language found in children’s books comes naturally to us when we are young.

As we mature, our delight in sounds becomes less visceral.

[W]e often lose the child’s love of chaotic vowels and knocking syllables. Even when writing about poetry, we bog down in the language of academia. Our sentences get longer as we pile up clauses and struggle to state a thesis. Then, in our professional lives, we get tangled up in bureaucratese and forget our innate ability to play with sound and sense.

via The Sound of a Sentence – NYTimes.com.

Just wondering: Do you have to be a poet to edit poetry?

Don Paterson, an editor and a poet, claim[s] that “A non-poet can’t do a line-edit on a poem”; it is essential for an editor to be a poet, too.

Michael Schmidt, the editor of Carcanet Press and PN Review, added that the job can be tricky when grappling with the work of someone from a different culture. “If you’re publishing a Zimbabwean poet or a poet from India or New Zealand, they’ll speak a language different from your own,” he said, adding, “This is an issue between genders as well.”

Both these points are slightly disquieting. If only poets can edit the work of another, does that mean that only poets fully comprehend the work?

Contemporary poetry: Do you have to be a poet to edit poetry? | The Economist.

2011 Man Asian Literary Prize longlist

 

 

In a press release, the organizers called the list “the most diverse to be announced in its five year history, showcasing a panoply of tales from right across Asia.”

Here’s the full list:

• JAMIL AHMAD, Pakistan – The Wandering Falcon (Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
• TAHMIMA ANAM, Bangladesh – The Good Muslim (Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
• JAHNAVI BARUA, India – Rebirth (Penguin India/Penguin Books)
• RAHUL BHATTACHARYA, India – The Sly Company of People Who Care (Pan Macmillan/Picador)
• MAHMOUD DOWLATABADI, Iran – The Colonel (US: Melville House, UK: Haus Publishing)
• AMITAV GHOSH, India – River of Smoke (John Murray/Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
• HARUKI MURAKAMI, Japan -1Q84 (Harvill Secker)
• ANURADHA ROY, India- The Folded Earth (Quercus/Maclehose Press/Hacehette India)
• KYUNG-SOOK SHIN, South Korea – Please Look After Mom (Alfred A. Knopf)
• TARUN J TEJPAL, India – The Valley of Masks (HarperCollins India/4th Estate)
• YAN LIANKE, China – Dream of Ding Village (Grove Atlantic)
• BANANA YOSHIMOTO, Japan – The Lake (Melville House)

“What this longlist shows is that if we are looking for books of the epic scale and stature of the great European nineteenth century novels, we must turn to Asia,” David Parker, chair of the directors of the prize. He says the nominees “have a scale and ambition we don’t often see in Western writing these days. Could it be that as the world’s economic centre of gravity is moving eastwards, so too is its artistic energy and ambition?”

via Melville House Books

Citation Obsession? Get Over It! [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

 

My university recently convened an emergency “summit” for librarians, tutors, and concerned faculty members to solve a citation crisis. Our library help desks reportedly cannot complete their core mission of assisting students with information literacy (finding, choosing, and using sources) because students keep pestering them with questions about how to format obscure citations: “I’m analyzing poetry for my ‘Punk Literature’ seminar. Using MLA style, how do I cite a limerick scribbled in the third-floor toilet?”

Meanwhile, the writing center stinks of fear as students struggle to decipher APA, MLA, AP, and Chicago (or is it Turabian?) documentation styles, which seem as alien and absurd to them as using a typewriter. Academic departments and even whole colleges consistently beg the library and writing center for workshops to rehabilitate their worst citation transgressors. Bibliographic citation has apparently eclipsed perfect grammar and the five-paragraph theme as the preoccupation of persnickety professors.

What a colossal waste. Citation style remains the most arbitrary, formulaic, and prescriptive element of academic writing taught in American high schools and colleges. Now a sacred academic shibboleth, citation persists despite the incredibly high cost-benefit ratio of trying to teach students something they (and we should also) recognize as relatively useless to them as developing writers.

Agree or disagree?

via Citation Obsession? Get Over It! [The Chronicle of Higher Education].