The passing of Muhammad Ali was sad for fans of both sports and greatness alike. One little known Ali fact is that he once composed a line-for-line sonnet with another one of “the greatest,” the poet Marianne Moore. Let none other than George Plimpton explain it to you.
“These were not like other poems: within their consistent 16-line armature they were turbulent, mad, feverish, cryptic, an unruly union of boppy jive-talk, and thorny quasi-Elizabethan diction. It was impossible to tell who was speaking, or to whom; poems ended in mid-syllable, bristled with random phrases in foreign languages, sported menacing-looking accent marks and Shakespearean contractions, were riddled with ampersands and ellipses.” At The Rumpus, a memory of falling in love with The Dream Songs (which happens to nicely complement a piece we published back in April).
Electric Literature has published a look at two new Sherlock Holmes fan fictions, “the game,” and various copyright complications, which just happens to dovetail with our own Elizabeth Minkel‘s Year in Reading account of admitting to loving Sherlock fan fic. In fact, loving the great detective has a lot to do with writing well: as Ryan Britt puts it, successful fan fiction authors “all love Holmes and his adventures way more than the man who created the great detective thought possible. Which, today, remains the biggest cultural mystery we’ll hopefully never get tired of investigating.”
In the late 1860s, James Crichton-Browne, director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum, gave Charles Darwin a collection of photographic portraits depicting the “afflicted and insane.” What followed was a six-year relationship in which both men corresponded about “the physical manifestations of natural selection.”
“Post-truth” has been named word of the year by the Oxford Dictionaries, reports The Guardian. Considered an adjective, its definition is “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The Dictionaries report its first use in 1992 by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in relation to Iran-Contra and the first Gulf War. And we thought Colbert’s “truthiness” was funny.