Wednesday, October 04, 2006

a meme-poem challenge       [sonnet]

Every word of the poem could be a meme!
particularly its multisyllabic expressions
you could make a meme out of saying "hey you seem..."
and might it be memish to wallow in weird digressions?

if the definition is just an infectious phrase
is the poem that features memes conceived as source
or repository? I'll admit I'm still in a haze
of course there's the fine adverbial meme "of course"

an urban legend is thought of as quintessentially
a meme that runs around with virulent zeal
a sheepish meme might sniffle penitentially
its teardrop-memes informing us how it feels

"I had a dream" is a meme from M.L. King
"Irene goodnight" is a folkmeme one might sing


so, um, here's your assignment -- if you should choose to accept it: write a poem that includes the following memes (or, in older argot, phrases):

1) "I had a dream" (which might or might not involve "I had a dream")
2) "Irene goodnight" -- or if you prefer, "Goodnight, Irene"
3) "hey you seem"
4) "of course"
5) some or other multisyllabic expression(s)
6) [optional]: wallow in weird digressions

note: your poem does NOT have to be a sonnet (but that's an option)

Anybody disposed to play (or that is, accept this 'umbly proffered poem-writing-exercise opportunity/challenge) is requested to let me know (& see results) via a link in comments hereto.



But what exactly (one might ask) is a meme? The Wikipedia comes to our rescue:
The term "meme" (IPA: [miːm], not [mɛm], or [mimi]), coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, refers to a unit of cultural information transferrable from one mind to another. Dawkins said, Examples of memes are tunes, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. A meme propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution analogous in many ways to the gene (the unit of genetic information). Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.

The idea of memes has proved a successful meme in its own right, achieving a degree of penetration into popular culture rare for a scientific theory....
I would add: the meme of the "meme poem challenge" is probably more a meme than are the particular (alleged) itemized "meme"s prescribed above as recipe-items for inclusion in a poem-to-be-generated by the gentle reader hereof.

Anyway, meme poems are (or the meme of the meme poem is) a growth industry. But is the meme of the growth industry a growing meme? In recent centuries and into the present, it seems so. Is the rhetorical question also a meme? Indubitably.


"I reme goodnight" as a Mondegreen

Funny about "Irene goodnight" vs. "Goodnight, Irene." The former is how I recall the beginning of the refrain -- which certainly I enjoyed as a child, but I always heard it as "I reme goodnight" -- and I assumed that "reme" (or perhaps "ream") was a verb. What might it signify? I was never certain, but it seemed -- in context -- to suggest the idea of "bid": I reme goodnight would mean (according to this childhood interpretation) "I bid [thee] goodnight."

This misapprehension of the lyric is an example of what Jon Carroll (among others) has popularized as a meme (he started doing so long before the meme was a very popular meme, I'd hazard) -- a meme known as the Mondegreen.


Blogger ~River~ said...

Will do!!! :D

Tue Oct 03, 11:37:00 PM PDT  
Blogger andy gricevich said...

I'll try to give this a whirl. Should be a useful distraction from my cultural geography homework... or maybe I'll incorporate the latter.

Wed Oct 04, 11:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger ~River~ said...

It's done!!!!

Thu Oct 05, 02:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bernardus Sylvestris said...

I have come via the river.
My first attempt, very raw and untutored. Leadbelly 1941.
"Irene goodnight" vs. "Goodnight, Irene" are both used in the song.
My first attempt ever.

Mon Oct 09, 01:01:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Thanks River and Bernardus! -- your respective contributions ("On Being Tagged..." and "White folks in Washington, they know how") are appreciated.
Andy, haven't seen your wirl of this as yet. And anybody else in the game?

Mon Oct 09, 04:22:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bernardus Sylvestris said...

As I am new to this game,I had a second attempt with various spelling, scanning and rhythmic errors fixed or at least attempted. "Throw a coloured man a nickel"

Mon Oct 09, 08:02:00 PM PDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home