Saturday, November 20, 2021

My Bestiary

I have an imaginary bestiary called Hodges’ Bestiary. Or maybe Hodges’s Bestiary? I’m never sure of the rule concerning that crux of the biscuit. Anyway, the bestiary contains 50 beasts, thus 50 poems. Here is the first:

Glowworms, Glowworms

We called them “lightning bugs,” special creatures.
“Fireflies,” said the outsiders instead.
“Glowworms,” said some mad kids, as if features
 like “glow” were hiding deepest secrets in each head.

And they’ve yet to solve the problem of just how
such worms take leave of earth and take to air.
Let’s leave them with that mystery, for now,
as though there were no emptiness still there.

I’m never sure of the rule concerning apostrophes, as I said, but I’ll get a lot of practice on it since I intend to turn my bestiary into a book of poems. My poems are currently in Carter Kaplan's Emanations (ninth edition, pp. 205-221).


At 10:55 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

There's some debate and some leeway regarding apostrophes and names, but the rule of thumb I go by—and I think the Chicago Manual of Style backs me up on this—is that if a name ends with an "s" (or an "s" sound), you add apostrophe-s.

Mr. Jones's cat
Mrs. Williams's house
Hans's orchestral score
Marx's comedy

The major exception is if you're dealing with names from antiquity:

Jesus' precepts
Xerxes' armies
Moses' promises

But what about a Latino boy in 2021 named Jesus? I don't know the rule for that one. I'd be inclined toward "Jesus's Pontiac" simply because this Jesus isn't an ancient figure.

I may need to go back and consult CMOS on the above, but I think what I wrote is right. However, as I said, there's room to maneuver, and few will penalize you for writing "Mr. Jones' cat." I think it mainly comes down to "pick a style and stick to it."

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I also think you're right. And you usually are.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

I go by Fowler. I haven't looked it up, but in English we do what we *want* to do. As Anthony Burgess said, "English is a language without a Grammar."

Orwell put it best, perhaps, in "Politics in the English Language" where, after setting forth a list of rules, he says something to the effect "Sooner break any of these rules than say anything barbaric."

And so... Drum roll.. Wait for it... Wait for it...

We use 's or s's based on how it sounds. If s's makes you sound as if you are hissing like a snake, for goodness sake use s'. If it sounds like something is missing when you use s', then use s's.

For goodness sake

For goodness' sake...

For goodness's sake...

Ha. Ha. Ha.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

I am happy *Emanations: When a Planet was a Planet* has arrived!

Thanks for these posts! Keep them coming, please!

And pics! Please!

BTW, did you see the *other* bestiary in Emanations 9? We have bestiaries coming out of our bestiaries. In theory-speak, that means "Our cup of inter-textuality runneth over!"

The whole volume is like that! Mystery, sudden thematic emergencies, symbolic reflections and sub-textual refractions blurring together... Kind of like a heuristic/hermeneutic word find!

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez Jr said...

"��'s��" Mrs.Yuko's cat
Mr.Terrance's WAH
Satan's orchestral score
Bones's comedy.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Carter, yes, I saw it. I now need to read it.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

And Hodges?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:54 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Hodges' Bestiary is brilliant.

In all sorts of ways.

Reading through Emanations is "something like" reading an obscure abstract experimental novel. Things reflect, refract, trace off and return...


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