Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Fun in the public domain

Here are a couple more ideas for your submissions to The Disappointed Housewife.

An English friend of mine had the splendid idea of going through a famous book (in the public domain, of course) and plucking out phrases that he then crafted into a poem. He happened to choose Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott, but you could use anything from a Jane Austen to James Fenimore Cooper. He says he referenced the novel via Project Gutenberg, which allowed him to scan through the text, back and forth, looking for phrases that might tickle his fancy, and I think he came up with some winners. Here’s a little excerpt:

Illuminated in brilliant patches,
standing carelessly at the door,
She points to him with the malignant envy
of a hedge-priest.

Understand, none of these phrases are anywhere near each other in the book. The writer dug ’em out and found a fun way to reassemble ’em.

I hope readers of What The Hell will yank a favorite classic off the shelf and start mining for hidden verse. And send it in to The Disappointed Housewife, pronto!

A second use of public domain text was the way another friend of mine took a Shakespeare sonnet and edited it to be more relevant to a modern American audience. Now Sonnet XX has a certain hip-hop je ne sais quois.

Try one yourself, and send it in!



5 comments on “Fun in the public domain

  1. islandeditions
    December 21, 2017

    Have had an idea … and there’s no copyright on titles, right?

  2. Audrey Driscoll
    December 21, 2017

    You’re a fountain of creative ideas, Kevin!

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2017 by in Writing and tagged , .
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