by Gene Howington
Poetry Friday is usually Elaine’s bailiwick and rightfully so with her being our resident Poet Laureate. Although I appreciate poetry, my personal predilection for the grammatical arts tends toward the novel and its smaller variations. However, that does not make me any less a lover of language. In particular I love skillfully executed nonsense. It is almost communication, but not quite. I first fell in love with the use of nonsense language as a child watching the Marx Brothers. There is a large nonsense component to (especially) Groucho’s comedy. For example, take this dialog from 1930’s “Animal Crackers”:
Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.
There is no poem in the English language more associated with nonsense than “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. So much so that the word jabberwocky itself is acceptably used as a synonym for nonsense. I discovered “Jabberwocky” shortly after discovering the Marx Brothers and I was hooked. That was in no small part why I was so pleased to see Carroll’s poem being recited by novelist Neil Gaiman for charity. I’m a big fan of Mr. Gaiman’s work, but who knew he could give such an outstanding reading (by heart no less) of “Jabberwocky”? And without further ado, spackle vibrates like the drops of Jupiter.
Now tell us what you know . . .
Regarding posting poems on Poetry Friday: I say the more the merrier! I have an illustrated edition of “Jabberwocky” that I used to read to my elementary students. I shared lots of poetry with them. They often chose to memorize their favorite poems.