Issue 12 
Ernest Hemingway's "Blank Verse" Elaboration

Brave New Word Issue #12 was a long time coming. Real long time. I first thought about making "Blank Verse"-related something-something in the summer of 2016 when Brave New Word was just an idea in the back of my head. I knew I needed to do something with it but I just couldn't get my grasp on it for some reason. It was just slipping away and showing its gnarly tongue every time I attempted to do something with it. That was until mid-2017 when I decided to make it an Issue of Brave New Word as a proof of concept for further developments. 

But even after that, it was a rough ride. Almost immediately after I started to work on this issue - the troubles started. I was out of one job and then jumped straight into another one and that didn't work out well despite all the effort. In addition to being burned out, I was focused on finding another job. And after I've found it - it didn't work out either and I was out of action yet again even more burned out and exhausted. It was really time-consuming and demotivating time for me. In addition to that, I needed to finish my own book which took an eternity already. While I've tried to maintain BNW at that time - I wouldn't say these were the strongest issues. Because of that Hemingway Special was put on indefinite hold for a while. 

Then Margo Emm asked me to take over editorial duties on Ex-Ex-Lit blog. It was a refreshing experience with a completely different pace. And it turned out to be the key to understanding how to pull Hemingway issue off the right way. 

Instead of fully focusing on it and trying hard - I left it to slowly grow in the background. With the hurry and pressure out of the equation I've found that the whole process of putting an issue together to be smoother and much more focused.

And now it is finally done.

But why "Blank Verse"? The reason is really simple. It is one of those poems that provide big and nasty sandbox with multiple possibilities to be explored. 

Ernest Hemingway needs no introduction. The king of the less is more school of expression, the man who an attitude and so on and so forth. However, there is one element of his early artistic output that is often overlooked - his poetry. 

Long story short - there is a reason why he focused on prose. While his poetry isn't really bad - there's not much to talk about. It is your standard modernist-infused stuff that was all over the place back in the late 1910s and throughout 1920s. Funny thing is that back in the day Ernest declared the novel form dead. Then he read "The Great Gatsby" and changed his mind. The other funny thing is that his prose got more poetry that his actual poetry (by a long shot, to the point you can go fishing for it).

Despite that, Mr. Hemingway had managed to compose one piece of poetry with a lasting impression - "Blank Verse". It is a short poem written in 1916 as a school assignment that published in November 1917 in a humor column Air Line of a school newspaper Trapeze. 

"Blank Verse" is a five line poem that consists solely of punctuation marks divided by extensive spaces to resemble a legitimate text object. The poem consists of: 

  • a pair of quotation marks; an exclamation mark, colon, comma, dot; comma, comma, comma, dot; comma, semicolon, exclamation mark and another comma.
As you can see - it is obviously a throwaway joke. But at the same time, it manages to go far beyond its original intent. 

Conceptually - it is a dig at overzealous readers who don't really care about the poems and just hang around in a self-satisfaction bout for sake of warped joyous overthinking and nothing else. And I guess we can all agree that these folks are somewhat annoying.

But this introduction is running too long already. If you want to read more about "Blank Verse" and my understanding of it - check out my essay about it.

Without further ado - Brave New Word Issue 12 Ernest Hemingway's "Blank Verse" elaboration. This brings us to this issue.

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