Archives for posts with tag: Oscar Wilde

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MY OWN DORIAN GRAY
by Alan Passman

When face-to-face, eye-to-eye
with myself in the mirror,
I see my parents.

My father’s broad isosceles
of a nose, hooked and unforgiving;
his roundness and lack of a virile
jawline that is instead a pendulous
and sagging second chin.

My mother’s dulled, foggy emerald
green eyes pierce back at me as they
trace up my forehead to her father’s
vampiric widow’s peak: a hairline
that recedes with every year
like said grandfather from my life.

I spy the heritage I really know nothing
about: family that fled from pogroms,
that lived and died in Tolstoy’s time,
that crossed the ocean with hope
brimming in their hearts for US
streets paved with gold.

I see what have become my sartorial
trademarks: red glasses and a beard.
The latter’s a point of pride and envy
with friends, foes, and strangers alike.
Former’s just a distracting affectation,
something to keep from homogenously
blending in with the crowd.

I see the cleft in my nose that I loathe
and I see my eyebrows that most
women would achieve by enduring
the pain of plucking and threading.

I see my lips, the feature that most
of the women I’ve been with have said
is my best feature. They’ve been
described as “thin yet plump.”

Whatever . . .

IMAGE: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Marvel illustrated edition, 2007), cover art by Gerald Parel.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Some people subscribe to the idea that you should free-write everyday until something sticks. Others are all about waiting for the muse to whisper in their ears. I find myself somewhere in-between. Sometimes a line or an image will pop into my head, and I’ll try to capture it. Then there are the moments were I doodle pictures, mostly of The Simpsons or the Ninja Turtles, and scribble lines out of boredom during professional enrichment meetings that we educators have to endure a couple times a semester — but with a poem like this that has a prompt and a project attached to it, the strictures and limitations actually aid you in that they force you to have a clear idea of what you’re trying to craft with each line, each stanza until you have something to write home about.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Passman is a man who strives for impossibility. His aesthetic is one that blends blatant pop cultural nerdery with red-hot, American male deviancy. He’s been published in Crack the Spine, Carnival, Bank Heavy Press, and, coming this fall, he will be featured in Multiverse: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry of Superhuman Proportions from Write Bloody Publishing. He received his BA and MFA from California State University, Long Beach, for Creative Writing and Poetry respectively. Currently, he teaches English at Long Beach City College.

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The accident
by Mathias Jansson

I have a headache
with pleasure
might go as far as delightful

it is somewhat sensational
these metallic problems

horrid horrid horrid
has just driven over the Albany

very much disappointed
anxious to speak
I suppose better talk to a room

SOURCE: “The accident” by Mathias Jansson is based on page 41 of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (CreateSpace, 2012).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has been published in both Swedish and English speaking literature and visual poetry magazines as Lex-ICON, Eremonaut, RetortMagazine, Anatematiskpress, Presens, and Quarter After #4. Visit him at his homepage or Amazon author page.

Image“It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.” OSCAR WILDE

Photo: Brockeninaglory

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According to Oscar Wilde

 “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise they’ll kill you.”

Wilde kept his Victorian contemporaries laughing with his delightful play The Importance of Being Earnest. But in the midst of the hilarity, Wilde slipped in social commentary about everything from theft and domestic service to alcohol consumption and marriage.

Some of my favorite lines revolve around the era’s most popular form of entertainment — the three-volume novel. Here is some of the play’s comical and cutting dialogue:

CECELY: I believe that memory is responsible for nearly all the three-volume novels…

MISS PRISM: Do not speak slightingly of the three-volume novel, Cecily. I wrote one myself in earlier days.

CECILY: Did you really, Miss Prism? How wonderfully clever you are! I hope it did not end happily. I don’t like novels that end happily. They depress me so much.

MISS PRISM: The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde debuted in London on February 14, 1895. The play is available free at Project Gutenberg.

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It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.” OSCAR WILDE

 Photo: Brockeninaglory

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“I have met a lot of hardboiled eggs in my time, but you’re twenty minutes.” OSCAR WILDE

Left photo: Refrigerator magnet. 

Right photo: Oscar Wilde paper cutout by Avital, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Act One (Excerpt)
by Oscar Wilde

JACK [Nervously]:  Miss Fairfax, ever since I met you I have admired you more than any girl . . . I have ever met since . . . I met you.

GWENDOLEN:  Yes, I am quite well aware of the fact.  And I often wish that in public, at any rate, you had been more demonstrative.  For me you have always had an irresistible fascination.  Even before I met you I was far from indifferent to you.  [Jack looks at her in amazement.]  We live, as I hope you know, Mr. Worthing, in an age of ideals.  The fact is constantly mentioned in the more expensive monthly magazines, and has reached the provincial pulpits, I am told; and my ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest.  There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence.  The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.

JACK:  You really love me, Gwendolen?

GWENDOLEN:  Passionately!

JACK:  Darling!  You don’t know how happy you’ve made me.

GWENDOLEN:  My own Ernest!

JACK: But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest?

GWENDOLEN:  But your name is Ernest.

JACK:  Yes, I know it is.  But supposing it was something else?  Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then?

GWENDOLEN  [Glibly]:  Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them.

JACK: Personally, darling, to speak quite candidly, I don’t much care about the name of Ernest . . . I don’t think the name suits me at all.

GWENDOLEN:  It suits you perfectly.  It is a divine name.  It has a music of its own.  It produces vibrations.

JACK:  Well, really, Gwendolen, I must say that I think there are lots of other much nicer names.  I think Jack, for instance, a charming name.

GWENDOLEN: Jack? . . . No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed.  It does not thrill.  It produces absolutely no vibrations . . . I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain.  Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John!  And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John.  She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment’s solitude.  The only really safe name is Ernest.

JACK:  Gwendolen, I must get christened at once—I mean we must get married at once.  There is no time to be lost.

###

Read this hilarious classic in its entirety at Project Gutenberg.

Image“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900)

October 16, 2013 marks the 159th anniversary of the birth of Irish author and legendary wit Oscar Wilde —  playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, and children’s book author.

Today, Wilde is most often cited for his pithy remarks, including:

  • There is only one thing in the world that is worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. 
  • Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
  • I never put off till tomorrow what I can do the day after.
  • Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
  • A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. I have not got one who is a fool. They are all men of some intellectual power, and consequently they all appreciate me.
  • The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for.
  • Only the shallow know themselves. 



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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Act One (Excerpt)

by Oscar Wilde

JACK [Nervously]:  Miss Fairfax, ever since I met you I have admired you more than any girl . . . I have ever met since . . . I met you.

GWENDOLEN:  Yes, I am quite well aware of the fact.  And I often wish that in public, at any rate, you had been more demonstrative.  For me you have always had an irresistible fascination.  Even before I met you I was far from indifferent to you.  [Jack looks at her in amazement.]  We live, as I hope you know, Mr. Worthing, in an age of ideals.  The fact is constantly mentioned in the more expensive monthly magazines, and has reached the provincial pulpits, I am told; and my ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest.  There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence.  The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.

JACK:  You really love me, Gwendolen?

GWENDOLEN:  Passionately!

JACK:  Darling!  You don’t know how happy you’ve made me.

GWENDOLEN:  My own Ernest!

JACK: But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest?

GWENDOLEN:  But your name is Ernest.

JACK:  Yes, I know it is.  But supposing it was something else?  Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then?

GWENDOLEN  [Glibly]:  Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them.

JACK: Personally, darling, to speak quite candidly, I don’t much care about the name of Ernest . . . I don’t think the name suits me at all.

GWENDOLEN:  It suits you perfectly.  It is a divine name.  It has a music of its own.  It produces vibrations.

JACK:  Well, really, Gwendolen, I must say that I think there are lots of other much nicer names.  I think Jack, for instance, a charming name.

GWENDOLEN: Jack? . . . No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed.  It does not thrill.  It produces absolutely no vibrations . . . I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain.  Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John!  And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John.  She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment’s solitude.  The only really safe name is Ernest.

JACK:  Gwendolen, I must get christened at once—I mean we must get married at once.  There is no time to be lost.

###

Read this hilarious classic in its entirety at Project Gutenberg.

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Left photo: Refrigerator magnet. “I have met a lot of hardboiled eggs in my time, but you’re twenty minutes.” OSCAR WILDE

Right photo: Oscar Wilde paper cutout by Avital, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED