Thursday, August 02, 2007

Books, books (and the World's Worst Poet)

It's that time of year again--the one where I get to buy my school books. Here was the semester's list:
  • The Confidence Man (Herman Melville)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (H.S. Thompson)
  • Angels (Denis Johnson)
  • Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson)
  • Fool's Progress (Edward Abbey)
  • Vineland (Thomas Pynchon)
  • La Perdida (Jessica Abel)
  • Flaming Iguanas (Erika Lopez)
  • Elements of Style (Strunk and White)
  • Literary Research Guide (Ed. Harner)
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Ed. Joseph Gibaldi)
  • Glossary of Literary Terms (Ed. M.H. Abrams)
  • Chicago Manual of Style
  • Chicago Guide To Your Academic Career
  • Poetic Designs (Adams)
Sounds like I have an exciting semester ahead of me, no? I already had two of these books, but the rest totaled about as much as my tuition--though, I do have a tuition discount and all.

How would you like the title of the World's Worst Poet? One William McGonagall (yes, he shares the name of a Hogwarts Professor) has been granted this honor. The Scottish are known to take their poetry seriously. After all, they produced the likes of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, and the Scottish are a little touchy about appearing inept to the rest of the world. They had the English telling them for years that they were nothing but barbarians who didn't know how to open a book.

But seriously--a poet who had to take an umbrella with him to shield himself from rotten vegetables? He must have upset some readers. Also, I'm sure thinking that he was second to Shakespeare in genius didn't help. I mean, really. Even if you're good, you don't go around claiming that you're in Shakespeare's league. And judging from the samples of poetry, he really is a pretty poor poet.


the secret knitter said...

Those samples made me laugh out loud. Sometimes bad is bad, and sometimes it's amusing. His work appears to fall in the latter camp.

Justin Ray said...

I kind of liked Railroad Bridge on the Silvery Tay.

Donna B. said...

That's Marilynne Robinson, author of Housekeeping, and man, do I love that book. There's a pretty good movie version, too.

Jenn said...

Whoops, my bad. Thanks...

I was typing them out from multiple lists, and must have typed the last name of the book before it. :) I look forward to reading it!