Category Archives: Poetry

Last Day to Submit a Poem for the 2016 Poetry Contest

Today is the last day for Ontario secondary school students to submit a poem to The Life of Words Poetry Competition 2016. Keep your eye on the contest page for upcoming news, and for eventual publication of The Life of Words Anthology 2016, which will print the winning entry and all honourable mentions. We’re received […]

Life of Words Poetry Competition

Good news for Ontario secondary school students who like words: The Life of Words is announcing the first in what will be an annual poetry competition, in which we invite submissions of poems about words and reward excellence with some pretty great prizes. Here is the competition web page, where we’ll post links, news, and […]

Vector Space and Poetic Logic

I’ve been spending the weekend experimenting with vector space modelling and poetic language. Vector space word embedding models use learning algorithms on very large corpora in order map a unique location in n-dimensional space to each token (=word) in the corpus. “N-dimensional space” is just a mathy-sounding way of saying that multiple (or n) features […]

Bowie on OED

It’s a day for sharing David Bowie quotations on the social medias. One in particular just crossed my path: I presume the person who wrote out, photographed, and posted this little tidbit (making sure to draw attention to their book store’s own social media outposts) found it among the collected Bowie quotations on some “famous […]

Maniacal Mental Etymology

In a recent number of the London Review of Books [37.20; 22 October 2015], a poem by Anne Carson gets thinking about etymology: Prepare for thinking (in the car as we go) by reading a book found in the garage, Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, where I learn ‘to think’ comes from root men-, (zero […]

Ted Cruz is no Scyld Scefing

I’ve read Beowulf. Beowulf was a friend of mine. And Senator… You know, when things sound stupid, they very usually are. And this headline sounds stupid: Ted Cruz as Beowulf: Matching Candidates With the Books They Sound Like [- The Upshot (New York Times Data Blog – click to view article)] No one who has […]

Ars longa, vita brevis

The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne, Th’assay so hard, so sharp the conqueringe, The dredful joye alwey that slit so yerne, Al this mene I by love, that my felynge Astonyeth with his wonderful werkynge So sore y-wis, that whan I on him thinke, Nat woot I wel wher that I […]

Two Notes on T. S. Eliot and the OED

I have two upcoming notes in the journal Notes & Queries concerning T. S. Eliot and the Oxford English Dictionary. Though they won’t be published until later next year, the self-archiving policy at Oxford Journals allows me to make an unrevised pre-print version available here. The two articles are: “The ‘Oxford Dictionary’ in T. S. […]

Interview with Paul Muldoon

Here are some excerpts from an interview I did with Paul Muldoon a couple of years ago, which focused on dictionaries and etymology. A full .pdf version of the interview can be downloaded here: [Interview with Paul Muldoon]. PM: I’ve never really been into the OED Online. Maybe I should. I think I might even […]

Big boost for The Life of Words

This news just released: The Life of Words is getting a major boost, in the form of a $150,00 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, UWaterloo, and St Jerome’s University, to fund my research on poetry and the Oxford English Dictionary. The Early Researcher Award provides $100,000 in funding from the Ministry […]