Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Billionaire sets Poetry Test in Lonely Heart Ad

This just in from Chongqing Evening News/ China Daily:

A man claiming to be a billionaire posted a lonely heart ad in local media recently with a long love poem as the preliminary test for prospective candidates.

According to the advertisements in Chongqing municipality, the 41-year-old business owner of a famous local enterprise is looking for a woman aged between 23 and 30 with fluent English, a pretty face and nice disposition.

And she must at least be able to understand the poetry.

A man surnamed Yang, who claims to be the businessman's cousin, said the ads cost some 300,000 yuan ($43,800) and that he would select 10 candidates to meet the boss face to face.

Some 100 candidates had applied so far, Yang said.

The ad caused a stir online among netizens, who considered it a gimmick and claimed the candidates were looking for money not love.

Here is a translation of the poem:

Night Thoughts

I cannot sleep. The long, long
Night is full of bitterness.
I sit alone in my room,
Beside a smoky lamp.
I rub my heavy eyelids
And idly turn the pages
Of my book. Again and again
I trim my brush and stir the ink.
Then I place an ad on the computer net.
The hours go by. The moon comes
In the open window, pale
And bright like new money.
Like my lots and lots of money.
Money I am willing to share
if you love poetry,
at last I fall asleep and
I dream you are typing
Over the beautiful hills.
And now your photo gets mine.
And now please text me asap.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

We went to the 97th annual reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," at Trinity Church up in Washington Heights. Omar Minaya, New York Mets General Manager, led the holiday tradition, which ends with a glow stick procession down to Clement Moore's grave in Trinity Church Cemetery. Dozens of kids gathered close to Omar and beat him the punch on most of the rhymes, to which he joked, "The Mets are easy to manage compared to this." The highlight was the Harlem Choir's rendition of "Go Tell it on the Mountain," with their sharp gesticulation and perfect pitch.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" gives us most of the images we associate with Santa Claus, the belly, the pipe, the rain deer, the sleigh. It is a powerful example of poetry shaping culture.

Moore was instrumental in saving New York's Greenwich Village from the grid. He wrote a 60-page pamphlet anonymously that argued against extending the orthogonal grid of streets into the village. His arguments were persuasive and the grid stopped at 6th Avenue and at 14th Street. He was a professor of classics at the General Theological Seminary in New York and wrote a most famous scholarly work one the lexicon of the Hebrew language.

Moore of course is best know for the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas," here is link to a site that has compelling evidence that Moore may not have been the author. Henry Livingston the facts are on your side! Moore's father swore in George Washington and was a bigwig in the church, as was Moore. Some of Livingston's relatives were also church high-ups and may have backed off on pushing for claiming ownership.

Especially interesting is the "smoking gun" section.

Here's another site that highlights lit sleuth
Professor Don Foster's work on the case.

Last here is link to the New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham's piece on the culmination of the Santa image/myth.