Today, we received this note and clever riff on Lewis Carroll’s famous poem Jabberwocky, from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Thank you, Austin Dixon, for sharing this with everyone! Readers: if you enjoy it, please post a comment here to let Austin know you appreciate his efforts. Thanks! Now, we just need someone to write a version as a Monty Python script.
I would like to submit this Jabberwocky parody for your consideration. It’s what Jabberwocky would look like if it were a Python Script. I wrote this myself, and I give you the right to use it on your site if you wish. Just include my name if you do. Thanks.
The Omaha World-Herald has reported some great news from Iowa where the national Poetry Out Loud competition at the Iowa School for the Deaf was won with a performance of Jabberwocky. First-time contestant Gabby Humlicek wowed the judges with her choice. ”It was a really challenging poem to turn into American Sign Language,” Humlicek said. In rendering Carroll’s nonsense words Humlicek said it helped that “I’m a gregarious signer, and I practiced.” The newspaper reports that Gabby will go on to the state competition in De Moines this March – success there could lead to Washington D.C. and a bid for the national title. We wish her luck!
I couldn’t find an online video of Gabby’s performance, but for the curious I did manage to find another anonymous performance on YouTube. It’s fascinating to try and follow along with the poem. I am not sure what is happening 40 seconds in but I think it might be the frumious bandersnatch and, if so, it is pretty scary. It would be great if any readers of this blog who know ASL could offer us a commentary.
Has your Monday been too mimsy? Not mimsy enough? Never fear, here is a recording of Jabberwocky read by Sir Christopher Lee, famous for playing Count Dracula, Saruman, Scaramanga and countless other tall and sinister men. According to the host site Metacafe, the recording was made at the British Library sometime last year and uploaded by a user called “poetictouch”. Enjoy.
Art by John Turner of Creative Goods Design & Supply, for Wonderland, in a New York Times special feature "Adventures in Communicating a New Alice"
The reviews have been coming in all weekend for Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland: A New Broadway Musical (the musical formerly known as Wonderland: A New Musical and Wonderland: A New Musical Adventure.) Wonderland‘s website quotes the New York Times: “INSPIRATIONAL, FANCIFUL & GROOVY.” The Times’ review by Charles Isherwood was actually a bit more nuanced, but I suppose “…the desire to create a traditional narrative arc from the unruly dreamscape of Carroll’s original results in a convoluted story line pitting the good guys against the bad…” doesn’t fit on a marquee. Neither would “‘Wonderland’ transforms Alice’s surreal wanderings into a contemporary parable about reconnecting with your inner child and other watery truisms of the self-help industrial complex.” Kudos to Isherwood for pointing out that Alice’s “increasing exasperation to find her way home” is more Oz’s Dorothy than Alice: “a preoccupation that didn’t seem particularly urgent to the polite, spirited youngster in Carroll’s original.”
However, Adam Feldman’s proper panning for TimeOut New York was a spectacular parody of the Jabberwocky. It’s so good, I can’t resist posting it here in full:
’Tis Wildhorn, and the hapless cast
Does direly gambol on the stage.
All flimsy is the plot half-assed,
Not right for any age.
Beware of Wonderland, I warn!
The jokes that cloy, the scenes that flop!
Beware the humdrum words and scorn
The spurious, bland rock-pop!
The book’s a torpid bore in which
A newly single mom (Dacal)
Gets tested, see, by a journey she
Begins with quite a fall.
This modern Alice lands (ker-splat!)
In Wonderland, and banters some
With rabbit, caterpillar, cat
(In order: twee, dull, dumb).
She also meets a huffish Queen
Of Hearts (well-costumed Mason), and
A lady Hatter (Shindle, keen)
Who wishes to command.
These cartoon Carroll singers screech
The busy Wildhorn-Murphy score,
Which oft suggests a loud, high reach
At songs you’ve heard before.
A White Knight (Ritchie) does enact
A boy-band number that’s a lark—
But then comes the worst second act
Since poor Turn Off the Dark.
Act Two: Boo! Boo! And through and through
This Wonderland’s both slick and slack.
Dacal et al. can only do
So much to save the wrack.
And why has Wonderland been made?
Answer me that, director Boyd!
From captious gays to children dazed:
By all it’s unenjoyed.
’Tis Wildhorn, and the hapless cast
Does direly gambol on the stage.
All flimsy is the plot half-assed,
Not right for any age.
Thank you, Mr Feldman. If the LCSNA gave out an annual award for Jabberwocky parody (and we should, dash it all!) this would be a heavy favorite.
I’d also like to take this moment to mention that the actor playing the R&B-singing Caterpillar has an amazing name: E. Clayton Cornelious.
While not impossible (Dodgson didn’t die till after the advent of sound recording), I was skeptical when this blog 22 Words claimed to have a recording of “Lewis Carroll reading ‘Jabberwocky.’” But I see they updated it with the comment “Oops! Sorry…This isn’t Lewis Carroll reading. Not sure how I made that mistake…” I can guess how they made the mistake: they had embedded the sound only from this strange YouTube animation. Its creator, Jim Clark, explains himself thusly: “Here is a virtual movie of Lewis Carroll reading his much loved poem Jabberwocky. The poem is read superbly by Justin Brett.”
There’s no known voice recordings of Carroll are there?
Thanks to the blog Moving Poems: The Best Video Poetry on the Web for rediscovering this Vimeo video of Hye Yeon Nam‘s installation Dinner Party. I assume the video was taken at the Eyebeam exhibition in New York, 2008, and according to her website, Dinner Partywas last sponsored in July 2010 by the not-at-all-Kafka-esque-sounding Ministry of Knowledge Economy and Korean Institute of Design Promotion. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dinner party provides a space where people meet and interact with Lewis Carroll’s poem, Jabberwocky, inspired creatures hiding in the shadows.
At first glance, the single chair and place set for one, seemingly provides a solitary dinner; rather the interaction offers a communication between oneself and the imaginary creatures. Initially gathered under the shadow cast by the plate, disturbed creatures will nervously scatter attempting to go around any other shadow cast on the table. A period of quiet status will encourage the creatures to reveal themselves.
Collaborate with Zach Lieberman and Jeremy Rotsztain
Developed with support from Eyebeam interactivos 08′
We have just received this nice note from poet/author Jessica Young:
My name is Jessica Young, and I am a poet and teacher (at the University of Michigan). I have a poetry book coming out that seeks to re-envision “Alice in Wonderland” to try to figure out why Alice was having all of those strange dreams. The book is narrative poetry, so it tells a story–it has a plot, characters, etc. It’s extensively researched to be historically accurate (e.g., the plants mentioned are all plants indigenous to the area!), though of course the plot is a little wild. And of course there are lots of Carrollian influences, like patterns and Jabberwocky poems.
I would so love if you passed on information about the book, and would absolutely welcome any comments or questions. I’m out in Michigan in the US, but anyone is most welcome to email (email@example.com) or call (209-POE-TICS).
And if any members happen to be in NY at the moment, they are most welcome to attend my release party. It’ll be August 31st at Poets House (in NYC), from 5:30-7:30. There’s a reading followed by a reception, and both are free.
A bandersnatch was in the news today, but it was widely assumed to be a typo. The actor who plays the titular role in BBC One’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, had his already-Carrollian-sounding name apparently spectacularly autocorrected by the Washington Post into “Bandersnatch Cummerbund.” Thanks to @Alex_Ogle on Twitter for the picture before. Anyone hoping for a sober correction – something along the lines of “The Washington Post deeply regrets mistakenly printing the name of the actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund blah blah blah” – will be disappointed. The Post responded that it was not a typographical error, and issued the following statement:
UPDATE: It has come to our attention that there is raging debate, in re whether we intentionally referred to Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund in The TV Column and blog.
MSNBC.com’s Alex Johnson, a gentleman and a scholar (and former Post staffer), leapt to our defense, noting I correctly identified Cumberbatch on first reference in the column item, and explaining that we are “a titan of snark” who “gets away with that kind of stuff all the time.”
Johnson was perhaps recalling the time, back in 2009, when Politico wrote about the sorry state of The Washington Post’s copy editing, citing something we had written about “American Idol” in which host Ryan Seacrest was called “Seabiscuit” – until some people explained to the author in the comments section, that we had used the nickname for Seacrest during many years of “American Idol” recapping. (The report vanished from the Web site).
But Poynter’s Craig Silverman, a skeptic, bet Johnson a beer on it, asking Johnson, like he meant it to sting, did he think the Post’s copy desk would let that through without any kind of wink to readers.
Silverman owes Johnson a beer.
But, we would like to give credit where credit is due. The nickname “Bandersnatch Cummerbund” originated with one of the serious students of television who join me each Friday to chat about all things TV. And that person would no doubt want to give credit to Lewis Carroll, who first wrote about the “frumious Bandersnatch,” in “Jabberwocky,” in the late 1800’s. We loved it then, we love it now. Oh — and, wink wink!
Call to artists to represent the Tulgey Wood monster wearing a tuxedo sash.
"Wonderland," By Dallas Piotrowski. Giclée Print, 2004.
Once upon a time an eight-year-old girl living in upstate New York received a birthday present that changed her life. The girl’s name was Joyce and the gift from her paternal grandmother was the 1946 Junior Library edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, illustrated by John Tenniel. It was a match made in literary heaven, from the companionable sight-rhyme of Joyce and Alice to Alice’s idea that there “ought to be a book written about me….And when I grow up I’ll write one,“ a goal her American cousin Joyce shared and fulfilled many times over when she grew up.
In her essay, “First Loves from ‘Jabberwocky’ to ‘After Apple Picking,’” reprinted in The Faith of a Writer (2003), Joyce Carol Oates calls her Grandmother Woodside’s gift “the great treasure of my childhood and the most profound literary influence of my life.” It was “love at first sight,” not only with Alice (“with whom I identified unquestionably”) but with “the phenomenon of Book.” Six years later, Grandmother Woodside gave Joyce her first typewriter, a Remington portable.
On view in the grown-up author’s Princeton study is her artist friend [and LCSNA member!] Dallas Piotrowski’s colorful reworking of the Tenniel sketch showing Alice “opening out like the largest telescope there ever was,” having just eaten the Eat Me cake. The altered Alice has a pencil in one hand and a book in the other and a face not unlike that of the study’s inhabitant. Joyce’s title for the picture of herself as Alice is “Curiouser and Curiouser,” which is what Alice is saying as the cake has its way with her. [...]
The play actually seems very intriguing, maybe it just wasn’t that reviewer’s clean cup of tea. The Trial of the Mariner is “an interactive, multimedia performance looking at the future of our oceans” inspired by both The Hunting of the Snark and S.T. Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” “The year is 2111, and a group of desperate sailors embark on a voyage on the Ship of Fools. Lost at sea and mad with cabin fever, they arrive at the Plastic Continent of the Pacific Ocean Gyre, where the unhinged Mariner’s adventures come to life.” There’s still three more performances, closing on the 21st.