Jabberwocky goes to graduate school

by | Tuesday, September 09, 2014


The 5th floor of Erickson Hall is a fun place to be. Typically a bunch of graduate students hang out there, working on their readings, talking shop and in general having a good time. For some reason, last week, I promised Josh Rosenberg that I would write a poem for them. I don’t know why I promised this… I just did. So now that I had said it, it had to be done.

So I wrote a poem building from one my favorite poems of all time, Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. It wasn’t the greatest thing but hey, whatever. I shared the draft with others and asked for suggestions to help make it better. And all hell broke loose. Suggestions came from left and right, via email and conversations in passing. And at each step the poem became richer, more consistent, better connected to the original…

So here is Blabberjocky, on the fifth… a poem that ended up becoming something greater than the sum of the individual contributions. A special shout out to Danah Henriksen, Spencer Greenhalgh, and Andrea Zellner for their help. Since the first version was prompted by an unsolicited promise made to Josh Rosenberg, it is clear that a large part of the blame for this poem being inflicted in the world lies with him.

Here it is:


Blabberjocky on the Fifth?
(with apologies to Lewis Carroll)


‘Twas threeing and the graduent hoardes
Thunkers lost a-maze
Allflutter were fidgits on keygroves
Aclickety clack in a daze.

 Beware of the Twitbook (albeit such fun!)
The gifs atrance’d, for eyes to catch.
Beware the inmail, your ebox not done.
Interwebs? grad work?…there’s no match!

Bereft of words, she took iPad in hand
A coarse paper due, her nerves were fraught
Alight she leapt, by 509 took her stand.
With empty mind, nil, nothing, naught.

And as in blankrupt thought she stood,
A posturing pedagogue shambled in
Bombasted a piffle, as he would
And left. Her time was running thin.

 The last hope was candy, a friend left behind
It helped, the rush, The Snickersy snack!
Her Vorpal pen was a sword in her mind
The jargon jungle, she took to hack.

And hast thou slain the writer’s block?
Hail Zotero, a draft! The real McCoy!
“O frabjous day! I beat the clock”
She laughed and carolled in her joy.

‘Twas threeing and the graduent hoardes
Thunkers lost a-maze
Aflutter were fidgits on keygroves
Aclickety clack in a daze.


Topics related to this post: Art | Blogging | Creativity | Crime | Fiction | Fun | Personal | Poetry | Stories | Worth Reading

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Spore & learning about evolution

A NYTimes story about Spore, the new game / toy designed by Will Wright (Playing God, the Home Game) speaks about its connection to evolution. As the article says, Mr. Wright and his publishers at Electronic Arts deserve all the credit they have received from some...

How to author 85,000 (or is it 200,000) books…

Andrea Francis just emailed me a note about Professor Phillip Parker who is the world's fastest book author. He has over the past five years over 85,000 books to his name. He is also the most eclectic. As the article says, "He has authored some 188 books related to...

Design is for life

Quote for the day: Parents look at their children today when they are 3 years old and say "Oh god!, He doesn't know how to operate the computer! How is he going to go ahead like this?" They should instead be worried if their child doesn’t know design. They should say,...

Cyborgs are us!

Are we becoming cyborgs? William Saletan has a recent article in Slate titled Full Metal Socket about this issue. As he says: Cyborgs aren't studs from the future. They're old folks. As we age, our parts wear out. That used to mean immobility or death. Today, we can...

Virtual speed bump

Optical illusions are usually seen as being cool visual tricks, an intriguing way of peeking into how our brain works. They have rarely been considered to be functionally useful. Here is an exception: an optical illusion seen as a virtual speed bump! Check it out...

Connections: Photo Haiku from Summer 2016

Connections: Photo Haiku from Summer 2016

For the past 17 years (with just two exceptions) my summers have been spent teaching in the MAET program. 2016 was the last time I did that, teaching in Chicago the third cohort of the MSUrbanSTEM project. The MAET program runs somewhat concurrently in three...

Hello Taiwan

Arrived at Taipei airport and got through immigration and customs quite quickly. I was received at the airport by Waiway Lin, a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Curriculum and Instruction at the National Taipei University of Education. It appears that she...

Trans-disciplinary creativity takes root (slowly)

I wanted to bring attention to two articles that came across my desk today. The first was in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled Creativity: a Cure for the Common Curriculum on efforts at range of universities seeking "to train students in how innovative thinkers...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *