Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rattling Things Up

If you write poetry then you've certainly heard of Rattle. (If not, rush over to the website and learn more about them by CLICKING HERE.)

Did you know that Rattle has started a new feature? It is called Poets Respond. Every Sunday they publish one poem online that has been written about a current event that took place the previous week. "This is an effort to show how poets react and interact to the world in real time, and to enter into the broader public discourse."  I think that is an excellent idea.

Several have been posted so far and I simply love After the Memorial by Megan Collins. You don't want to miss this one. READ IT NOW

Today I came across this article about a man being fired for writing a post about homophones. I was horrified. Having taught EFL, I know the importance of clarifying the different meanings and spellings of homophones. Teaching them is a must. Even more shocking is the fact that the owner of the language school had to look up the meaning of homophone. Really?!!!!! I am not sure where he was educated, but I do remember learning about them in my the third grade!

No. Homophones have nothing to do with sexual orientation, and saying that posting about them on a language learning site is "inappropriate" is like telling a swim instructor that he cannot call the breast stroke the breast stroke because it uses the bumpy B word and people might think you advocate topless sun bathing. It's like not allowing a teuthologist to talk about the tentacles of an octopus, because some moron might confuse it with testicles.   

The breast stroke is the breast stroke and can't be called anything else. The tentacles of an octopus are tentacles and aren't called anything else. And guess what? Homophones are homophones and nothing else.
 Thinking about this gave me a great idea for a haibun (you know how I love haibun), and I decided to sit down and write it for Rattle. However, you know how that funny bone sort of does a sneak attack on me from time to time? Well, my beautiful and clever haibun never saw the light of day, and this silly little rhyme in the form of a epistle came shooting out of my finger tips and onto the screen. Rattle features awesome work, and this silly rhyme (which is written on a 4th grade level...oh, my mentality at times) will certainly not be qualified enough to grace their pages (or screen), but since one of my readers might need a laugh, I am sharing it with you.

An Epistle for Clark Woodger

 Deer Mr. Woodger,

Eye am a cereal misspeller
and I don't no what two due;
my school didn't teach hire skills
so I just don't have a clue.

Eye wood like to get a job
so I won't always bee pour
but know matter how eye try
I can't get my foot in the door.

Now Ide like to brake into righting
since I can due that from home
and take my work with me
wear ever I may Rome.

But sum tell me it's a waist
of thyme when eye cannot spell,
They say isle never make a prophet
'cause the books will never cell.

No one wants to reed a tale
when the words are knot spelled write,
but spelling isn't like won plus won;
spelling isn't all black and white.

You sea, even though eye worked hard
and this letter hear is spell-checked,
my deer friend, Mr. Torkildson, claims
properly-spelled words aren't always correct.

He said he understand my dilemma,
because English doesn't always make cents.
“Homophones can be confusing,”
he kindly said in my defense.

He posted about them on the web sight
to help people every wear.
Because he did it yew fired him.
This dismissal simply is knot fare.

Know instructor introducing homophones
should ever lose his position
just because the owner of the language
school doesn't no the definition

and worries the word will be misinterpreted
and make the school sound pro-gay.
Would you rather have your language learners
end up spelling this weigh?

No. It is not literary genius, but I hope you got a laugh out of it (even though homophones are some very serious stuff.)   :-)
The deadline for submitting to Rattle's "Poets Respond" is midnight PST every Friday so you still have time to pen something and send it in. If not, there's always next week.


Hannah said...

I'd never heard of Rattle before...I think that's an excellent idea poets responding to current events real time. I love the rant you went on about, homophones, breasts and tentacles! ;) The funny bone is an important bone in the body , I think!

Linda H. said...

Hannah!!!! You've definitely got to check out Rattle. They have a FB page as well. Very good work in every issue. In fact, you might want to submit some of your work there.

Apropos of nothing... said...

Linda - you said this better than eye ever cud have dun!

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh, Linda. You are so clever... and hilarious, my friend.

Linda G Hatton said...

Wow, that gave my brain a little workout. Fun poem!

Thanks for the chuckle.:-)

Linda H. said...

LOL. Thanks, "apropos of nothing". I am sure you could have done just as well, if not better.

Linda, writing it gave my brain a work out so I am happy to pass it off onto you. ;-)

S.E.Ingraham said...

omigosh - I had the lengthiest comment going...I wonder if it's in moderation? I'm going to wait and see before I start again...sorry

ina Roy said...

Linda, I just love this poem. And yes, it makes me despair when I think that these are supposed to be EDUCATORS who made these decisions!

Linda H. said...

Sharon, your long comment didn't come through :-(

Ina, I was shocked to read about this "educator". I mean, homophones are elementary school stuff in the U.S. so he should have learned it, and every EFL student should learn them at some point.

S.E.Ingraham said...

This was so funny Linda. Really well done.

I read the article with something like incredulity...imagine the guy being fired over this...was glad Rattle picked it up for their Poets Respond feature. I think it's an excellent idea incidentally. Rattle have been on my list of "must break in there one day" forever, and Timothy Green is probably one of the most generous, kind, editors in the business, unfailingly encouraging when he writes his rejections (which I collect). I have tried a couple of Poets Respond entries but have never entered anything near the quality that's made it into print.

I know that Rattle receives literally thousands of submissions over the year, both for their themed issues and for their contest (which is blind judged and which I never fail to enter partly because the entry fee includes a subscription to the magazine which is excellent and by receiving it, I get a handle on what it is they're accepting these days).

However, I'm also on their mailing list (which I think anyone can sign up for) so I get a poem a day from them and that's a good deal also, just to see what's cooking over at Rattle. As I say, I really would like to crack this market but given the volume of poetry they receive, I think it will have to be a combination of the planets being aligned, some other good luck, a great poem, and...maybe the right day at the right time, you know?

Still, as Wayne Gretzky used to say, "You can't score if you don't take a shot." So, every once in awhile, I take a shot.

Again, I really enjoyed your poem. English is such a curious language, yes?

Linda H. said...

Hi, Sharon.

Rattle didn't pick this up for their Poets Respond feature. I didn't think they would since it's not really up to their quality. However, I agree with everything else you've said.

I like Rattle and the Editor and really hope to break into this market at some point. If we are lucky, we can grace the pages together.

De said...

Delightful, dah-ling! Love it!

Delaina said...

Nicely spun Linda!