Today or tomorrow, I'll be uploading to Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) my latest collection of Daily Doggerel (see probable cover design above). These are pieces that I published on Facebook and/or on my other blog--Daily Doggerel. I'll charge the least that Amazon allows ($2.99), and of course you know that you'll be getting exactly as much as you paid for!
Here's my most recent draft of the foreword--and I will let you know when it's actually up on the Amazon site.
Hamlet, feigning madness (or maybe not), has a well-known encounter fairly early in the play with Polonius. This man, the worried father of Ophelia (Hamlet’s lover-who’ll-later-drown-herself), encounters Hamlet—his clothing all awry, his manner distracted—apparently reading a book. Here’s a portion of their exchange:
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Hamlet: Between who?
And on they go for a while, Hamlet waxing ever more strange (and insulting), Polonius waxing ever more puzzled.
Okay, I have very little in common with Shakespeare: He’s dead; I’m not; he had twins; I didn’t; nobody really knows what he looked like; I live in the Age of the Selfie; he’s a great poet; I’m not.
But he loved words; so do I. Many words now appear in English dictionaries because the Bard was the first to use them in print. In his wonderful book “Think on My Words”: Exploring Shakespeare’s Language (2008), David Crystal—perhaps the authority on the language of the Bard—estimates that he “invented” about 1700 words—assassination and outswear among them.[i]
We also still employ so many of the expressions that first fell from the mouths of his characters—fool’s paradise, sea change, salad days, primrose path, and the like. Shakespeare also liked to make fun of people who had trouble with language. Think of Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing—one of the best examples. There’s hardly a word he can use correctly. Instructing his fellow night-watchmen, Dogberry says,
You shall also make no noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and to talk is most tolerable and not to be endured (3.3).
In this current collection of my doggerel (which, in fairness, I should have dedicated to Dogberry instead of to my ninety-six-year-old mother) I have written about two different sorts of words—what I term twaddle (silly or tedious talk or writing)—words and expressions that are common nowadays but nonetheless ugly (in my eyes and ears). Jargon. Cant. Educationese. Bureaucratese.
A second section here deals with clichés—expressions so worn and abused that I believe they have really earned a permanent retirement. If not euthanasia.
Each of these two sections contains about fifty little “poems”—lines that I posted each day on Facebook and on my blog called (appropriately) Daily Doggerel (http://dailydoggerels.blogspot.com/).
The final section here comprises unrelated verse—pieces I composed for various reasons. I saw some deer along the road—or wild turkeys; I had a memory; I had a battle with a spider in the shower (he/she lost); I learned about a recently discovered photograph of Billy the Kid. I call these pieces “Desultory Doggerel”—pieces that well comply with the definition of desultory: “digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random.”
Let’s end with Shakespeare, too. In The Taming of the Shrew, the servant Grumio tells his master, Petruchio, about all the other servants who have been awaiting his arrival back home: Yet, as they are, here are they come to meet you (4.1).
Yes, my poor servants (these verses) are not dressed all that well; they’re not too refined. But here they are, as they are, come to meet you. Be kind (Petruchio was not).
—Daniel Dyer, November 28, 2015