Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Great Regulars: From National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke's take

on Archaeopteryx to the Costa award-winning Jo Shapcott's vision of the Arctic fox sent out to hunt for Franklin's lost Arctic expedition in the 19th century, the results of poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy's project to match 10 leading poets with 10 Cambridge museums were unveiled on Wednesday evening.

Duffy had invited the poets--who also include Don Paterson, Owen Sheers and Jackie Kay--to spend two weeks in residence at a Cambridge museum or collection. At an event on Wednesday where the poems inspired by the collections were revealed for the first time, Duffy called them "stunning".

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Carol Ann Duffy unveils poems inspired by Cambridge's museums


The Oxford English Dictionary is appealing to the public for help after being unable to trace a mysterious, possibly pornographic, 19th-century book from which a number of its quotations are derived.

Meanderings of Memory, by one "Nightlark", is dated to 1852 by the OED, and appears in 51 entries for the dictionary, including "couchward", "extemporize" and "fringy". Veronica Hurst, the OED's principal bibliographer, said its shadowy existence was discovered when a member of staff was working on the entry for "revirginize", for which Meanderings of Memory is the earliest citation.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Oxford English Dictionary asks public to help track down mystery book


Here, courtesy of Publishers Weekly, is the "best author letter ever". Children's writer Elizabeth Bluemle recounts the story of an unpublished manuscript of hers, Iris Spectacle: Accidental Private Eye, a "picture book . . . about a little girl who uses her nearsightedness to solve crime". It never made it into print, but when she saw a librarian looking for a book about girls who love their glasses, she sent off a copy--and never heard back. Until now, a decade later, when the little girl who received the manuscript wrote to say thank you.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Was there ever a better letter from an author?
then Publishers Weekly: ShelfTalker: The Best Author Letter Ever


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