Poets on their favorite word. Essays selected from the anthology One Word, edited by Molly McQuade.
I'm remembering the farmer now. He's taken off his sword and belt and left them on a rock, and now he's laboring behind his sixteenth-century wooden plough (it may as well be ancient Greek, it's changed so little). As his stalwart horse is harnessed to the plough itself, the farmer is also—only a little more metaphorically—harnessed to his work.Continue Reading
Solmizate: to sing any object into place. Most literally, it's singing by the syllables of the do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do sequence. That's all it may be, literally, but I happened to get introduced to the word with a slight error in it—one of those errors that is, in fact, an errancy, a wandering off from the beaten path, and, as with the "knight-errant," the "word-errant" also has something inherently noble about it. It is off on a mission to create more meaning in the world
Isolate, peculiar, rare, obsolete, it surfaces in the language only once, according to the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary: in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. "Kankedort": speculatively defined as a "difficult situation" by Larry B. Benson, editor of The Riverside Chaucer (OUP, 1987); further glossed in the OED as "a state of suspense; a critical position; an awkward affair."