Tag Archives: Poetry

1750 BC: Let Man Bear the Load of the Gods!

In one of the oldest surviving creation myths, humankind originates from a labor action. The story, told in the Babylonian Atrahasis Epic, goes like this: long before humankind, only gods exist, with some more powerful than others. These greater gods—the … Continue reading

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1964: Oh, My Mangled Head!

In his book Alice in Many Tongues (1964), Warren Weaver spends the last chapter using a curious method to evaluate various translations of Alice in Wonderland. He takes the same passage from each translation—a portion of the Mad Tea-Party—and asks … Continue reading

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1946: First They Came

Although this is one of the world’s most famous poems, there is no definitive version of it. Indeed, there is no clear evidence that its author, the Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, ever put it into poetic form. Several variations exist, … Continue reading

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1871: Wasp in a Wig

In 1870, illustrator John Tenniel wrote to Lewis Carroll suggesting that he delete an episode from Through the Looking-Glass: Don’t think me brutal, but I am bound to say that the ‘wasp’ chapter doesn’t interest me in the least, & … Continue reading

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1802: The Mammoth Cheese

On the first day of 1802, President Thomas Jefferson received a gift of mythic proportions. Amid great fanfare, a “mammoth” Cheshire cheese was delivered to the President’s House by the itinerant Baptist preacher and political gadfly Elder John Leland (1754-1841). … Continue reading

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1989: Inferno Joe

Robert Sikoryak’s version of Dante’s Inferno as a series of “Bazooka Joe” comics (1989). Sikoryak has also done a version of The Scarlet Letter as a series of “Little Lulu” strips, a “Peanuts” version of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Crime and Punishment … Continue reading

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1897: C.3.3.

When Oscar Wilde’s poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol was published in February, 1898, the author’s name appeared only as “C.3.3.,” which had been the number of Wilde’s tiny room in the prison: block C, landing 3, cell 3. It … Continue reading

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