Poetaster

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Brancusi’s “Endless Column” By Mike Master – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 ro, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21034498

More joy courtesy of Blake Gopnik, “In His Films, Brancusi Takes Flight,” NYTimes.

Given all the chestnuts in this show, the challenge is to see if we can still find a way to be astonished by them, as we were when they first appeared. In 2018, can Brancusi still release our inner poetaster?
[I’ve long known of the word “poetaster” and what it means, but I can’t recall having seen it used recently, especially in journalism. Indeed, as “one who writes inferior poetry” I stake claim to the title myself. Not having heard the word either, I note that in the handy online recording its pronunciation tracks the cadences of a phrase such as “pope disaster” or “poll forecaster” — four syllables with more presence of the ass-sounding part of the word than I would have thought. In my head I always said it in three syllables — POET-uh-str — diphthongizing -oe- and reducing the -a- to schwa.]

“Chestnut” is an old friend, too — “something that has been discussed or repeated ad nauseam.” It’s good to bump into this useful term. I knew a professor of English literature who quipped of a prolific rival in the field, “He lets a scholarly article every morning before breakfast.” I do that with chestnuts.

[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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