Tag Archives: writing

Five Quotes About …

“What I teach you is nothing. What you learn by doing over and over is where the learning begins.” (Simon Michael) “Writing poetry is much easier … Five Quotes About …

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Who’s Getting Laid in This Picture?*

“Organised chronologically, Matisse in the 1930s begins with a look at the Nice period, exemplified by his voluptuous Odalisque with Grey Trousers (1927). A seductive model in harem pants lays on a green bedroll, surrounded by brilliant red and yellow … Continue reading

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Saint Brevity, Patron of Blagueurs

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” (Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon, 1971) Like a bird on a pole,Like a soul on the dole,I have tried all my waysTo be brief.(JMN, after Leonard Cohen) (Harold Simon is quoted by … Continue reading

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Sensing the Presence of Vinegar: Food Poetry

(A squalid detail to put behind us: “vichyssoise” is misspelled in the review as “vichysoisse.” Slipshod, to be sure, but my esteem for Pete Wells’s writing remains intact. Even Homer nodded.) Pete Wells said once that when he became restaurant … Continue reading

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‘A Writer Who Composed Prose Like Poetry’

Considering the toll it takes on me to construct a writing boiled down to within an inch of its life about something I think, punctuate it punctiliously, then figure out too late what I’ve said, much less thought, if anything, … Continue reading

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Je pense, donc je blague

When I’m tempted to post something here with greater frequency than usual, I ask myself: Am I in thrall to a voracious craving for plaudits? Am I a prelapsarian Ozymandias? An attention-seeking missile? Look what I’ve thought — done! — … Continue reading

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Wipe It Off, Gray Lady

Free expression isn’t just a feature of democracy; it is a necessary prerequisite. (Editorial Board, “Censorship Is the Refuge of the Weak,” New York Times, 9-10-22) No big deal. Just a nicety of style, a peccadillo none but the persnickety … Continue reading

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Chasing Command: The Kicker

Statistic: Forty-nine of the 50 highest-scoring players in American football history are kickers. “And the first ball comes off my foot like a rocket, and then the next one and the next,” he says. “I just felt like I had … Continue reading

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The ‘He-She—>They’ Transformation (1)

In respect of gender, Arabic nouns are divisible into three classes; (a) those which are only masculine [muḏakkar-un]; (b) those which are only feminine [mu’annaṯ-un]; (c) those which are both masc. and fem., or, as it is usually phrased, of … Continue reading

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Which One Is ‘They’? A Way Almost to Tell

Let’s work together, good citizens: Go ahead and write they instead of he or she if you must, but keep the -s ending on the verb. It will result in phrases such as they wants. People will want to amend … Continue reading

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