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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Who will edit the editor?

Not plagiarism, but simply bad writing:
Her lines are clear and concise, distinguished by rhyme, sound, punctuated with her signature dash and exclamation marks, half-rhymes and surprising line-breaks. She accepted her private isolation and agoraphobia and chose to commune with humanity through her poems.  
I don't know if Dickinson's lines are "clear." To say they are "distinguished by rhyme, sound" is to say very little, since almost all lyric poetry rhymed in the 19th century. That is not a "distinguishing" characteristic. And sound?  What can this possibly mean?

"dash and exclamation marks"--why switch between singular and plural instead of saying "dashes and exclamation marks"?

Then we get "half-rhymes." That is fine, but are they meant to be punctuation too? Why repeat "rhyme" twice in the same sentence? Isn't the use of half-rhyme more distinctive? And Dickinson is not particularly known for surprising line breaks or enjambement. Shouldn't we just say it concisely--that she mostly uses the ballad stanza, defamiliarizing it through slant-rhymes and eccentric punctuation?  

And "commune with humanity."  I don't like that. And "private isolation"--as opposed to public isolation I suppose?

A page later, she is talking about how Dickinson is "relatable," as though she (Bialosky I mean) were a 17-year old.  Her writing is extremely dumbed down.

We find clich├ęs like "limp as a rag doll" and "the black cloud of depression." Seriously?  Could no-one have edited the editor a bit?


Thomas said...

This is pretty common in my experience (or at least common among cases of plagiarism.) The writing is strangely hapless until we come upon a crisp paragraph of factual statements or lively narration. That paragraph, of course, turns out to have been plagiarized.

Jonathan said...

That will be funny if we find out the best parts of the book are phrases taken verbatim from wikipedia.