Thursday, June 21, 2007


Our neighborhood is pretty awesome for many reasons. One of the main ones is the quality of books that people leave on their stoops when they’re cleaning house.
Within the last month, I’ve picked up, among other things, Writing Poems, by Robert Wallace (1982) – which, at the very least, is a nice anthology of poetry – and, my favorite so far, A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage (1957 contemporary, that is), by Bergen and Cornelia Evans (siblings, not spouses). With names like those, I don’t know what other career they might have chosen, except perhaps vaudevillian funeral eulogists.
Between those two books, I’ll be ready to write some cutting-edge ante-post-Soviet mid-post-modern symbolist advertising jingles, or heavy-metal power ballads. Or news-quiz limericks.
Anyway, nosing around in the latter book, I came across this:
The term has become a cliché of the literary and therefore should not be used in their company. It is totally meaningless to the unliterary and therefore should not be used in their hearing either.

Which, really, sums up most grad school discussions. But now I’m getting personal.


teacher Ana said...

"A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage"
Wish I would have found that one.

Trent said...

Great quote. Bergen and Cornelia know how to make a point.