Good poetry is even better when you read it aloud. For his anthology, Essential Pleasures, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky selected works with just that in mind. Martha and Grant discuss a poem from the book with lines that are more delicious when spoken. Also this week: If a woman decides to keep her own name after getting married, should she be addressed as Ms. or Mrs.? When you were young, what did you call your favorite blanket? When do you redd up the table, and what does it mean to be out like Lottie’s eye?
This episode first aired January 23, 2010. Listen here:
Download the MP3 here (23.5 MB).
The hosts talk about some verses from Essential Pleasures, Robert Pinsky’s anthology of poems meant to be read aloud.
If a woman decides to keep her own name after getting married, should she be addressed as Ms. or Mrs.?
“Don’t be frontin’!” A Texas college student is curious about the origin of “fronting,” and learns that it goes back several decades to the world of petty criminals.
What can go up a chimney down, but not down a chimney up? Martha has that riddle’s answer.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a happy time with a word puzzle whose answers all include the word “happy.” Try this: “The nickname of Xaviera Hollander, as derived from the title of her bestselling 1971 memoir.”
When you were small, did you have a favorite blanket? If so, what’d you call it? A woobie? A blankie? A listener says her grandmother called hers an ookoosh, and wonders if the word reflects grandma’s Czech roots.
If you’re driving and need to turn 180 degrees, you make a U-turn. But what do you make if you speak a language that doesn’t include the letter “U”? If you’re a Hindi speaker, what do you call wearing a V-neck sweater in an A-frame house?
When someone’s fast asleep, a Texan might say that he’s out like Lottie’s eye. But who’s Lottie and what happened to her eye?
Some children don’t talk until they’re age three or older, then go on to do just fine. Why do some kids start speaking relatively late in life? The hosts talk about a recent Ask Metafilter thread on that topic.
Is there a word that describes someone who’s good at visualizing how best to pack a suitcase or car? A Michigan woman is sure she heard such a term for someone who can visualize 3-D arrangements in advance, but darned if she can recall what it is. Can the hosts help?
A Connecticut listener is suspicious of a Wikipedia entry that claims the slang term homie derives from Latin homo, meaning man.
The Spanish phrase “Donde lloran, está al muerto” literally translates as “Where there’s crying, there’s a dead person.” In everyday use, however, the meaning is somewhat different. You might use it, for example, to describe someone who claims not to have money when in fact he does. A bilingual caller wonders if there’s an analogous expression that refers to someone who’s miserly despite being wealthy. Grant recommends he check out A Dictionary of Mexican-American Proverbs by Mark Glazer.
Another riddle: I’m taken from a mine and shut up in a wooden case from which I’m never released, yet I’m used by almost everybody. Who am I?
Redd up the table! A California listener says he remembers hearing that all the time when growing up in Iowa, but now that he’s on the West Coast, no one has any idea what he’s talking about.
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