Friday, April 2, 2010

Margaret Atwood and Pagan Fertility Rituals

My family didn’t celebrate Easter because my mom said it had its origins in a pagan fertility ritual. (Why do you think people dye eggs?)

Ishtar may have flopped in the Lea household, but it’s still going to be a Good Friday. Inhale the melange.

Craig Teicher addresses the relevancy of poetry from the perspective of critic.

But in almost any conversation on the topic of poetry reviews, one question comes up: what’s the point? This question isn’t always asked with the flippant air that actually means “who cares?” Often, people really want to know: what is accomplished by poetry reviews? Do they help sell books? Do they keep the art form in line? Do they spur writers into creating better poetry or kick bad writers out of the halls of Parnassus? Do poetry reviews help readers?

There is talk of keeping poetry “vital” and “alive,” but the article does not eulogize the art form or devolve into cliché.

In what can only be considered the greatest news of all time, Margaret Atwood is on Twitter. Even better, she’s blogging about being on Twitter.

She says having a Twitter feed is like having “33,000 precocious grandchildren.”

They really shone when, during the Olympics, I said that “Own the podium” was too brash to be Canadian, and suggested “A podium might be nice.” Their own variations poured onto a feed tagged #cpodium: “A podium! For me?” “Rent the podium, see if we like it.” “Mind if I squeeze by you to get onto that podium?”

My first thought reading her blog was, “Margaret Atwood would be the coolest grandma ever.” But I didn’t want to say that in fear it would be perceived as sexist or ageist. Then, Atwood called us precocious grandchildren and removed any possible awkwardness... just like a cool grandma.

(Atwood tweets. Alice Walker blogs. It is a wonderful time to love the typed word.)

Jan Freeman talks about banned words in newswriting and the repetition inherent in the business.

The call for “fresh language” is another cliché that demands a closer look. Sometimes repetition and formulaic language serve a speaker’s purpose better than novelty; sometimes the story really is the same — only the names have changed — and too much striving for originality may annoy and distract.

Finally, because it can’t be all good news, I offer two more reasons one might hate Amazon.

-Jason Lea,

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