Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What is Roy Peter Clark reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Roy Peter Clark, author or editor of over a dozen books on journalism and writing. These include Free to Write: A Journalist Teaches Young Writers; Coaching Writers: Editors and Reporters Working Together Across Media Platforms; America's Best Newspaper Writing; The Values and Craft of American Journalism; The Changing South of Gene Patterson: Journalism and Civil Rights, 1960-1968; and, most recently, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.

One book from his entry:
A Choice of Shakespeare’s Verse, selected by the late British poet Ted Hughes. The selections are inspirational, of course, but a critical essay by Hughes at the end is one of the most brilliant descriptions of the Bard’s poetry that I’ve ever encountered. It turns out that Shakespeare’s writing vocabulary was something like 25,000 words, which is twice as many words as his nearest rival.

Get that? Shakespeare used twice as many words! Not only that, but many of these words Shakespeare introduced into the language for the first time. Hughes describes a typical poetic line in which Willy would introduce a new Italianate adjective, for example, and link it to an Anglo-Saxon synonym. In other words, he was building a bridge of common language between the aristocrats in the expensive seats and the groundlings in the cheap seats.[read on]
Check out Roy Peter Clark's "Writing Tools -- The Blog" and read an excerpt from Writing Tools.

Writers Read: Roy Peter Clark.

--Marshal Zeringue