Sunday, November 16, 2008

From today's NY Times Book Review:

Like many writers, I keep a few books on a shelf to unclog my brain for those times when the right combination of words refuses to muster for service (currently in rotation are “Blood Meridian,” “Beneath the Underdog,” “Mumbo Jumbo” and “1001 Afternoons in Chicago”). To that pantheon I add “Alphabet Juice” for its erudition, its grand fun and its contrary view on what constitutes good writing.
. . .
The mind-mouth conspiracy to which Blount refers leads him to meditate on the pleasure of saying “polyurethane foam.” The surplus of vowels, the “fluidity” of its meter and “the conjunction of that ‘y’ pronounced like a long ‘e’ and that ‘ur’ like ‘yoor’ ” get primary credit for bliss. Feeling “ ‘polyurethane foam’ . . . running around in my mind’s ear and mouth is like watching otters play in the water,” he says. The scientist in him holds and measures words; the poet tickles them and begs to be tickled back. At one moment he has you beholding the most exquisitely balanced word in English (“level”), and at an­other he’s schooling you in the frequency with which “t” evokes disapproval, as in “tut-tut,” “too-too,” “tittle-tattle,” “tacky tacky tacky,” “fat,” “rat,” “catty,” “tatty,” “twit” and “all hat and no cattle.”


I have to get my hands on this book ASAP. It sounds *fabulous*!

2 comments:

Pamela said...

I have this book on order from my college bookstore. I'll do a book report, if you want.

Peter said...

P: Please do!