Saturday, January 27, 2007

WordPlay - The Documentary

Make roomIl Postino, Frida, Amelie & even yes, An Inconvenient Truth, a new favorite movie has moved into my life-- WordPlay, a fascinating movie about the crossword puzzle and the people who create and solve them.

As someone who has always loved crossword puzzles, word games, and word play, all my favorite things were wrapped up in a wonderful DVD about other people who have this same particular obsession with words.

Two small things in the movie that I was quite amused with were--

When a crossword puzzle creator drives by DUNKIN DONUTS and says, "You know, if you move the D to the end of DUNKIN you have 'UNKIND' DONUTS."

Another favorite part was actually in the bonus section where they are talking with a woman who creates crossword puzzles and how she likes to make people laugh. So she decided to do a themed crossword puzzle for the New York Times on "Wardrobe Malfunction," after the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake fiasco Superbowl show. One of her clues to that puzzle was "Wardrobe Malfunction in the office." Answer: Slacks off at work. I loved that!

One of the new hot shots at the crossword championships was a 20 year old fraternity boy named Tyler who was fantastic. The documentary followed him along with other competitors, some who have previously won, some who have been in the finals but each time placed third.

If you love words, puzzles, or both, you need to watch this movie. It was an intriguing look into the crossword puzzle and the people whose lives are filled by it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ordering The Storm, How to Put Together a Book of Poems, edited by Susan Grimm

It seems as young poets, we are searching for the secret decoder ring or the secret handshake that will allow us to have our books noticed and published in the world of poetry contests. Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems offers essays from eleven poets with advice on how to order a poetry manuscript. The books is an interesting hodgepodge of advice where one poet suggests placing all your poems on the floor and seeing what kind of theme emerges for a book (a suggestion that returns essay after essay) and another essay contradicting that idea. Ah yes, advice from poets! How different we are.

As someone who is currently ordering my second collection of poems, I find myself underlining large parts of certain poets’ essays and none in others. One of the best essays is by Liz Rosenberg. What makes Rosenberg’s essay stand out is that she speaks honestly and has faith in the poet’s own intuition. She writes, “Beyond the aspect of creating a journey, I have very little system for putting together a book. It is an intuitive process (17).” Later she adds, “Like most young writers, I spent years asking others for their opinions, and learning how little is to be gained by it. No one else can teach you how to be more of yourself” (19). Still, even with her belief that poets should look inward, Rosenberg does offer suggestions for creating a full-length collection of poems. She prefers sections because she feels it give her “permission to tell many stories.” She believes, “You sacrifice individual poems for the sake of the book as a whole. You find your tics. Your tricks” (18).

Rosenberg’s suggestions seem close to my own feelings. While I believe mentors and friends can offer ideas or suggestions while putting a book of poems together, as poets we need to rely on our own inner vision, even if it seems misaligned with what others feel. As Albert Goldbarth once told me, “Art is not a Tupperware party.” We each have our quirks and own unique ideas about things and we need to trust those feelings inside of us.

The organization of poems is highlighted more in this book than ideas on how to title your manuscript, however Beckian Fritz Goldberg touches on this subject briefly. I wish more poets had explored this subject as naming my own manuscript has always been much more difficult for me than trying to name someone else’s collection. Mostly, I feel too close to what I’ve created. Just as it was extremely difficult for me to come up with a name for my daughter, it’s just as difficult for me to name a collection of poems. But Goldberg offers this on the subject: “Taking the time to select a title for the book that conveys some metaphoric property or governing tone is an integral part of structuring a volume of poems. . .It’s difficult to construct a book around a vague or generic title even if it’s cloaked with meaning for the author (49).” She also suggests not having one word titles, a suggestion I find too broad to make given the many poetry manuscripts in the world.

This brings me to the issue and praise I have for the book—it’s impossible to give good poetry advice for everyone, yet these are some rules that mostly apply, such as avoid vague or generic titles and to group poems together with similar themes. However, there are some ideas that may not work for all such as “a book of poems should have a dramatic arc” and stay away from one-word titles. Ordering The Storm reminds me how personal and subjective poetry is. I am reminded that what we each create comes from a difference place based on our own unique experiences. As I read this book, I find ideas that work for me and ideas I feel resistant to—and both can allow me explore my own ideas for what I feel creates a strong poetry collection.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Who Is This Child? And What Will He Be Next? By Suzanne Paola

Wonderful article by poet & mother Suzanne Paola in the New York Times. Click above for the link.

MY son, at age 8½, changed his name to Penguin S’ Ice, and he has kept that name for almost a year now, un-bratty in his corrections, but adamant.

The “S” stands for ... I don’t know. The apostrophe is equally vague but definite. When he is asked what his name is — as kids are a half-dozen times a day — he says, “Penguin” or “Penguin S’ Ice” with a trace of discomfort but no explanation.

Congratulations, Jeannine!

In case you didn't hear, Jeannine Hall Gailey has graduated with her MFA from Pacific University!

A terrific poet with or without a diploma...

Here's a poem from the graduate--

Wonder Woman Dreams of the Amazon

I miss the tropes of Paradise - green vines
roped around wrists, jasmine coronets,
the improbable misty clothing of my tribe.

I dream of the land of my birth. They named
me after their patron Goddess.
I was to be a warrior for their kind.

I miss my mother, Hippolyta.
In my dreams she wraps me tightly
again in the American flag,

warning me, “Cling to your bracelets,
your magic lasso. Don't be a fool for men.”
She's always lecturing me, telling me

not to leave her. Sometimes she changes
into a doe, and I see my father
shooting her, her blood. Sometimes,

in these dreams, it is me who shoots her.
My daily transformation
from prim kitten-bowed suit to bustier

with red-white-and-blue stars
is less complicated. The invisible jet
makes for clean escapes.

The animals are my spies and allies;
inexplicably, snow-feathered doves
appear in my hands. I capture Nazis

and Martians with boomerang grace.
When I turn and turn, the music plays louder,
the glow around me burns white-hot,

I become everything I was born to be,
the dreams of the mother,
the threat of the father.

(Published in American Poetry Journal, Spring 2005 and featured on
Verse Daily, March 1, 2005. Also included in the Pudding House chapbook,
Female Comic Book Superheroes, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2005.)

Order your copy of Becoming the Villainess here!

Congrats, J9!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Looks like a poet to me...

Anne Sexton

The Poetry Department of America


What are you reading?

Me? I'm reading Breaking the Alabaster Jar: Conversations with Li-Young Lee, which I'll be writing about here very soon. I'll just say, It's, no--he, is fantastic.

How to be a Poet--

I'm also starting the Anne Sexton biography next week along with her complete poems. I've never really *read* Anne Sexton. I mean I've read the poems you need to read to be an English major, but not much else. Recently, I've had two poets try to steer me away from her. Read Plath, said one.

There are some people, some professors, who do not believe she is a "real" poet. I've heard "she's just a housewife who used poetry as therapy." Do you know who that statement kills the blood flow of my inner housewife? Do you know Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson did not have a MFA and yet, they had the nerve to write poetry? I know I'm a grad student in an MFA program, but I honestly believe an MFA is NOT needed to be a poet. If you *want* to be a poet, a good, strong, wonderful poet, you can be--without the MFA.

Anyway, off soapbox now. Just nothing makes my blood boil more than someone believing that you need to go to college to be a poet. No, you need to read poetry. You need to read everything. You need to write. Write everything. You need to read and read and live and live. Read, write, and revise. That's what makes a poet. Not a piece of paper.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Notes on Manuscript #2

I'm just back from a walk and I've decided on my manuscript title. I'm not posting it today, but if you're interested, drop me an email. My second manuscript is in alphabetical order and explores the relationship between writer and reader, speaker and listener. It also explores the issues of trying to write about subjects that are important, but to have language and words get in the way. Funny for an English major to say, but sometimes I feel I have to make up my own words to find the right words.

It's similar to trying to talk with God, who has the words? How do you speak in a spiritual sense? Language is a tool, but it's also a buffer. It keeps one separated from the true feeling of something. If you're reading about something or speaking about it, you're not experiencing it.

For me, someone who is never quite sure of her feelings, poems allow me to explore what is happening and how I see something. I've always been intrigued by people who know how they are feeling, I don't. I may feel a certain way, but I can't put a title to it--like anger, grief, or bitterness--but what I can do is connect it with an actual thing like: padlock, stillbirth, pincers.

I think this is why I write. I can't tell you how I'm feeling, but I can show you. And I never feel one way about something--I live it the world of gray, the fog moving across an island, one day I may visit there, the next I'm on a hillside. I see all sides of the moon and if I can't see it, then I imagine it the craters. I would much rather answer you in a letter as it allows me the time to understand what I'm thinking. The act of writing is so much easier for me than speaking. And I think I pull myself back from the world because the intensity of my "feelings" can be too great. I will spend too much time rethinking what I said and how it came out. I think this is why I love the the act of writing--a poem doesn't become yours until it's done, until it's perfect, until I understand what I am trying to say.

Word of the Day: Compassion

What I'm Thinking About This Morning

Note: this is without the line spacing which moves in and out like waves.

The General Song Of Humanity
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

On the coast of Chile where Neruda lived
it's well known that
seabirds often steal
letters out of mailboxes
which they would like to scan
for various reasons
Shall I enumerate the reasons?
they are quite clear
even given the silence of birds on the subject
(except when they speak of it
among themselves
between cries)

First of all
they steal the letters because
they sense that the General Song
of the words of everyone
hidden in these letters
must certainly bear the keys
to the heart itself of humanity
which the birds themselves
have never been able to fathom
(in fact entertaining much doubt
that there actually are
hearts in humans)
And then these birds have a further feeling
that their own general song
might somehow be enriched
by these strange cries of humans
(What a weird bird-brain idea
that out twitterings might enlighten them)

But when they stole away
with neruda's own letters
out of his mailbox at Isla Negra
they were in fact stealing back their own Canto General
which he had originally gathered
from them
with their omniveriious & ecstaic
sweeping vision

But now that Neruda is dead
no more such letters are written
and they must play it by ear again-
the high great song
in the heart of our blood & silence

Cuernavaca, October 26,'75

Monday, January 15, 2007


“I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s motor bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will be proclaimed the rule of the land. “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.” I still believe that We Shall overcome!

“This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.”

(Excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1964.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nancy Pagh on Poetry Daily today!

This is a wonderful book, which I highly recommend. A poem from NO SWEETER FAT by Nancy Pagh--

I Believe I Could Kneel

I believe I could kneel
in so many quiet places
where the pale sponge of moss
would surely reach above
my hips as I sank down and down
as the deer must in their beds
kneeling once, then once again
to lower themselves front and back
before closing their glistening eyes.

I think I am the kind of person
down on one knee and shifting my weight
my whole life long
but capable of sinking far, and deep,
to the bottom of something
that might replace the religion I discarded
or make me really live in this body
or waste my life.

I would like to live my way into being
someone who stands back up
and runs toward that holy forest.

Nancy Pagh
No Sweeter Fat
Autumn House Press

Friday, January 12, 2007

Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a year

Inspiring article...


I've made my choices, and they include no more husband, a college education and huge changes in the way I spend money.
By Donna Freedman

I'll be living on just over $1,000 a month this year. That doesn't sound like much -- and it isn't -- yet I plan not just to live on it, but to build a savings account.

My 2007 "income," the money I can actually count on, will be $12,084. I know this because it consists of alimony and a portion of a school grant. (I went back to college last year; the grant covers tuition and books with a little left over.) I already know my big-ticket annual costs, too: rent of $6,300 and $1,200 for car insurance. Subtract these from my income and I'm left with $382 a month for food, utilities, clothes, medical deductibles and co-pays, gasoline, renter's and life insurance and any help I give my daughter, who lives on even less than I do.

Make no mistake: I'm poor by choice, because I needed to change my life. I chose to leave my marriage, and I chose to become a student. I can live this way because I know it won't be forever. I'll have my degree in two more years, and I'll go back to work.

I survive on economies large and small. I bring my laundry to baby-sitting jobs (yes, I ask permission). I brown-bag my lunch every single day. I combine coupons and rebates to get items for free (I haven't paid for toothpaste, shampoo or other toiletries for years). I drink water, not soda.

But in order to thrive, you have to hustle, too, always looking for ways to save a dime or to make one. I exchange spent ink cartridges for reams of printer paper at Office Max. Whenever I see a candy dish, I put a piece in my coat pocket; if my energy flags midday, those toffees and peppermints keep me from buying snacks. After I won a basket of specialty coffees at a college event, I immediately sold it on; I sold a "free after rebate" phone that way, too.

If you've never been really broke, all these desperate little economies might seem silly. You're probably thinking, "Why not have a soda? It's only a dollar." Because I've got just 382 of those dollars each month, that's why, and those dollars have other places to go. The COBRA insurance runs out in May and I'll need to get student insurance, at $389 per quarter. The car needs a 60,000-mile checkup. My share of a dental crown is going to be $486; I will ask for a discount if I pay in cash.

Jill of all trades
Last year I survived on a number of here-and-there gigs: freelance writing, work-study, baby-sitting, mystery shopping, resident manager (read: janitor and handyma'am) of my apartment building, paid medical research and writing for the community-college newspaper. (I was the oldest living cub reporter.)

There was little downtime; when I wasn't working I was studying, doing homework or writing papers. And I was perpetually weary and frequently ill all year long. Fact of life: A 48-year-old college student simply doesn't have the energy of an 18-year-old college student.

This year I'm dumping most of the part-time gigs. I'll still freelance and baby-sit, but very selectively. My new school means tough classes, a long bus commute and lots of reading and studying. More to the point, it's a great opportunity, and I'd like to take full advantage. So I'm choosing to work less in 2007, focusing instead on getting healthy and getting my education.

That means careful money management and a fair amount of sacrifice. I'm willing to do both. As a freelance writer and recent divorcee, I'm accustomed to lean living. Here are some of the mantras that have kept me going thus far:

It's not what I have, but how much of it I can keep. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, every dollar I don't spend is a dollar I have earned. So when I think I need something, I ask, "Can I do without this?" Often I find I can. If I can't, then my next question is . . .

How can I get it free, or almost free? The obvious answers are sites like and thrift shops, especially ones like Value Village that offer coupons and half-off sales. My 99-cent clock-radio wakes me up every morning just as efficiently as a high-tech alarm from The Sharper Image. Rummage sales are swell, too; my church has an annual sale called "Superfluity" (I love that name) at which I bought my desk for $4 and a small chest of drawers for $1. I also buy Christmas and birthday gifts at Superfluity and an annual "500-family" rummage sale. No one has to know that that hardback bestseller under the tree cost you only 50 cents.

Enough is as good as a feast. I love to eat. I don't love paying for it. Because I don't have a "regular" job of at least 20 hours a week, I don't qualify for food stamps. So I shop very, very carefully, and I go to the food bank. Most weeks I can count on potatoes, apples, bread and a can or two of vegetables. Some lucky weeks I get milk, orange juice, pasta, tomatoes, rice or a small package of meat. I cook a lot of beans and stews, and I'm adequately fed -- maybe not as richly or as conveniently as I'd like, but well enough to keep me going.

Every day is casual Friday! When my jeans are in tatters I buy a "new" pair at Value Village (one pair cost me just $1.63, and it was new -- still had the department-store tags on it). I spend $15 or less on running shoes from clearance tables. I've bought a couple of thrift-store tops, but mostly get by with shirts I've had for ages. (Hint: The clothes dryer takes years off the life of your duds. Get a drying rack.) Some days I wish I looked nicer. Most days it doesn't bother me, and I doubt it'll bother anyone else, since students at my school have been known to wear flannel PJs to class. Bonus: When you dress the way I do, panhandlers hardly ever ask you for money.

Announce my intentions. Time and again I have found that when I need something I should "put it out in the universe," which is also known as "prayer." One night last fall, squinting over my homework, I realized I needed more light in the apartment. A day later, a halogen floor lamp landed in the Dumpster outside my window. Recently my umbrella got cranky about opening. The next week I was given a high-quality bumbershoot as a thank-you gift for helping with a campus blood drive. Coincidences? Maybe.

$20 to feel rich
I've decided to increase my monthly church tithe to $20. Sure, I could use that extra $240 a year. It just about equals the university registration fee, or the money I promised my daughter toward the price of her wedding dress. It also represents almost half of the car insurance premium heading my way in April.

But giving that money away makes me feel rich. No matter how straitened my circumstances, I can be a part of services the church provides for the homeless, the impoverished elderly and those living with AIDS. In other words, tithing reminds me that there are lots of people worse off than me, people who'd love to have my so-called "problems."

That's not to say that I wouldn't like to have more cash. It would allow me to help my daughter, to secure my future, to buy more roasts and fewer pinto beans. But I figure I won the cosmic lottery just by being born in America, a country where I can not only work on a college degree at age 48, but also find scholarships and education grants to help me pay for it. I have a roof over my head, food every day, family and friends, and occasionally even a $10 student ticket to the Seattle Symphony. Some days I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

If I really am lucky, then I'll make it through 2007 with a positive bank balance. Check back with me next December and I'll let you know how I did.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Actually, It's Happy *38th* Journey

Happy Birthday to Me
& Jeff Bahr

Other people born on January 9th--

Dave Matthews
Joan Baez
Bob Denver (Gilligan)
Richard Nixon (also Gilligan)
Crystal Gayle
Pope Gregory XV
Simone de Beauvoir

Petition to Stop Global Warming

Just thought the timing on this was too good-- is sponsoring a petition for Congress. writes:

The amazing response to An Inconvenient Truth shows how many Americans are concerned about about global warming. This could be the tipping point moment for the climate crisis. Congress must act to solve the climate crisis now.

You can sign it HERE

It takes 30 seconds to do, if that.

Don't Call it "Climate Change," Call it Global Warming

Though this is not about poetry, it's something I wanted to share as I think this is a movie we should all see and be aware of-- k.r.a.

* * * *

Though I kept slipping and calling the movie "An Indecent Proposal," which would be something *completely* different, I finally watched An Inconvenient Truth last night and it feels life changing.

I'm hoping it's not life-changing as 9-11 was for about 2 months, or being so excited about your new year's resolutions that you join a gym only to stop going after a week. I'm hoping this movie will create larger changes in everyone's behavior. Truly, the movie was incredible in that it was interesting, entertaining, and had useful and important information to get out.

Before I watched it I had thought--yes, yes, I get it, Antarctica is melting, we're getting warmer, more storms... But it's so much more than that. As the mother, I realize how what's happening right now isn't going to effect me as much as my daughter. And if she has children (my grandchildren), well, I can't even imagine their world based on where we are headed today.

My husband and I (both Democrats) kept thinking (as if there's a bigger picture here with fate playing a larger part), maybe this is why Al Gore wasn't elected, maybe this is what he needed to do to help the world. My husband, a political science major in college, has always said that the President can do little while in office with the exception of wars...

I'm not sure, but I was just happy to see Al again. Though they played tape from the 2000 election and mentioned Florida--you know the story--and Gore's loss hurt all over again.

You can go to to learn what you can do to help the situation.

We found a great link there for comparing cars. It's shocking to see in visuals how many barrels of gas one of our cars eats up...that car may be going soon, but don't tell it, it thinks its in for the long ride.

Also, on the Climate Crisis site, there are also little things you can do to help change things such as unplug cell phone chargers when they aren't charging the phone, eat less red meat, turn your temperature down two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer if you have air-conditioning, plant trees, lots and lots of trees. Simple stuff.

I'm looking at the footprint our family is leaving on earth and trying to make sure we walk softly.

If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend it. I thought it was a movie that I *should* see, but didn't have to because I understood the situation. All I can say is that I had no idea.

And Al Gore wins my Personal Hero award--and I hope he decides to run in 2008. If he does, he will easily win my vote.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Poetry Process - One Way To Write Poems

The other day I wrote out my process of writing a poem and while talking to a friend today, we thought it might be helpful for others to see it as well. Please know this is only one way to write poems. Currently, it's the way that's working for me. But like most things, it could change.

My process for writing poems--

When I sit down to write at my computer sometimes I just start writing about what's on my mind. It doesn't need to be important or world changing, just what I'm thinking about it. I write with line breaks not just in a free write.

If I'm having trouble beginning sometimes I look at poetry books by my favorite writers. These change daily. On my desk now is Robert Hass and Octavio Paz, I've had many other poets here as well. Sometimes I turn on music to inspire. Currently, it's "How to Save a Life" by the Fray. Other times it's been Los Lonely Boys or international radio. Sometimes, it's the wind.

Then I write. I don't think about what I'm writing or if it's making sense. I just write whatever comes to mind. If I get stuck, I grab a book and open to a word or I write ________ in my poem. I just keep trying to move forward. I am not thinking of the poem as a whole, I am just trying to move from one line to another. I'm trusting in what Stafford called "the golden thread."

Once I feel I'm at a stopping point, I save the poem either by a title or the first line into my "In Process" file. This is purgatory for poems. It could sit there a day or a month, or a year. The poem may never get looked at again. Or it may get attention in the evening. It's in limbo. It may become a *real* poem or it may live its life as a fragment, a thought, some interesting words on paper.

Later (usually the next day or sometimes I wait a week before returning to my new work) when it's my writing time again, I open my In Process file and randomly choose 5-9 poem titles or first lines that look interesting to me. Sometimes I seek out a certain poem I'm ready to work on. I open them all and begin reading through the poems until I find one I want to work on and revise. I choose based on what looks interesting to me at that moment and begin revising. I do this process again and again. I keep opening and revising poems. This can go on for days, weeks, or years with the same or different poems.

At some point, one of the poems will give me this feeling of satisfaction and of completeness. I will know there is no more I can do and there is no more that I want to do to this poem. At this point, I will either print out the poem to share with my writing group or I will move it to my file called "Completed Poems."

If I bring it to my writing group, it will stay in In Process until I make further revisions after hearing their feedback. If it moves to Completed Poems, it then becomes a poem I may submit to a literary journal.

For every one poem I complete, there are probably about twenty (or more) poems that are not completed. You will never see the majority of my poems. I may never finish the majority of my poems.

Sometimes I move a poem to Completed Poems too quickly and later return it to In Process because it's just not strong enough. Sometimes, I forget about a poem in In Process and then find it and feel it's complete. Mostly, many of my first poems never become poems. But I feel I need to write those poems to get to the next poem.

I think about Elizabeth Bishop here and Alice Quinn's book with EB's unpublished work. I don't think EB wanted the world to see those poems, just as I don't want anyone to see my In Process poems until they are complete. By knowing that no one will ever see them, I am free to experiment, write about anything, and write freely.

When I write, I do not think of the reader, but of the poem and what's best for it. I do not think, "What will people think of this poem?" or "What will people think of me?" I just write. The world and the reader are so far away when I write those first words, I can't imagine at that point that anyone will ever read it. In fact, mostly likely, you won't. Most likely, my poem will life a life "In Process," in the file with no backdoor to escape from, the file that makes the poem stay in there until it's earned its way out.

Note on William Stafford:

William Stafford leaned forward into his own life, "listening for the next sound," and "rubbing words together until something sparked." He believed that treasures were to be found beneath your feet, and that searching for things that fit together was to follow the "golden thread." About his own works, he once commented, "I have woven a parachute out of everything broken."

Lake Superior State University 2007 List of Banished Words

BOASTS -- See classified advertisements for houses, says Morris Conklin of Lisboa, Portugal, as in "master bedroom boasts his-and-her fireplaces -- never 'bathroom apologizes for cracked linoleum,' or 'kitchen laments pathetic placement of electrical outlets.'"

COMBINED CELEBRITY NAMES -- Celebrity duos of yore -- BogCall (Bogart and Bacall), Lardy (Laurel and Hardy), and CheeChong (Cheech and Chong) -- just got lucky.

"It's bad enough that celebrities have to be the top news stories. Now we've given them obnoxious names such as 'Bragelina,' 'TomKat' and 'Bennifer.'" -- M. Foster, Port Huron, Michigan.

"It's so annoying, idiotic and so lame and pathetic that it's 'lamethetic.'" -- Ed of Centreville, Virginia.

GITMO -- The US military's shorthand for a base in Cuba drives a wedge wider than a split infinitive.

"When did the notorious Guantanamo Bay Naval Base change to 'Gitmo,' a word that conjures up an image of a fluffy and sweet character from a Japanese anime show?" -- Marcus W., St. Louis, Missouri.

Click on the post's title to read the full list.
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