The other day I was working on the first round of edits for
Marilyn Taylor’s next Poet to Poet column. She begins the piece by saying that
she often receives clueless remarks from people she meets once they find out
she writes poetry. For example, someone might comment that today’s poetry seems
to be simply cut-up prose.
Well, don’t think that poets don’t know their way around a
sentence. Marilyn is a grammar ace—or, as she once signed off on an e-mail
message, “Marilyn the Grammarilyn.” She’s on top of even tricky grammatical
points. (“Grammarilyn” makes me immediately think of “gremlin” and the
ubiquitous ’80s movie Gremlins, featuring cute creatures that turn into gremlins
if you don’t follow a few rules, like not feeding them after midnight. But, of
course, the Grammarilyn is a benevolent figure. Just as Glinda is a good witch,
Marilyn the Grammarilyn is a good gremlin. She doesn’t cause linguistic chaos;
she makes it vanish.)
What reactions do you get when you say you’re a
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