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The Weird Week in Writing: Authors love Eminem, Humpty Dumpty seeks vengeance, Sylvia Plath draws hot dogs

Freaky Friday—the latest from the often weird and wonderful world of writing
this week (followed, as always, by a prompt). Happy weekend!

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STILL BETTER THAN KID ROCK: Charles Bukowski loved Wagner. Oscar Wilde loved Haydn. Turns out 71-year-old Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, Janet Evanovich and others have a different audio hero: Eminem.

EGGLAND’S BEST: I suppose most of us are used to Humpty Dumpty just falling off walls and permanently breaking, etc., etc., in three sentences or fewer. Now, though, in an upcoming movie and graphic novel, he has a new mission: Vengeance! Bonus: He’s half alien.

AS GOOD AS WORD: Sylvia Plath cartooned about a dream of being chased by a hot dog and marshmallow. David Foster Wallace drew fangs on Cormac McCarthy. Nabokov scrawled some bugs, appropriately, on The Metamorphosis. Kafka drew mad men. Meet the amazing world of author doodles.

In short, Maria Shriver is guest editing O, The Oprah Magazine’s poetry issue. It will feature contributions by the likes of Demi Moore and Mike Tyson. Maybe hubby Arnold Schwarzenegger will grace us with a villanelle, rondeau, or one of his trademark sonnets?

DISCLAIMER: While the Weird Week in Writing usually goes for the comically weird, our second-to-last item today focuses on something in the literary world that is just, well, grim: The goings-on at Harper’s Magazine, where this week the publisher rejected $50,000 in reader donations to prevent staff layoffs.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: What was the success secret behind the Earl of Rochester’s bestselling 18-century poetry collection? Turns out he was a bit of a poetic pornographer, offering readers a secret folio of naughty rhymes (beware some mildly explicit, but bestselling, phrasing, after the link…).


WRITING PROMPT: Lost Translation
free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments
section below. By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings. If you’re having trouble
with the captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me
at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and
I’ll make sure it gets up.

She'd passed him the note years ago, when he was studying abroad. He'd never had it translated. Until now.

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