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Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

September-October 2019

Laurinda Morway writes, “Years ago an author described the phenomenon of hearing or seeing something for the first time and then experiencing it repeatedly as a ‘Juno Sparrow’ (that being the name that popped up unexpectedly again and again). I can’t remember where I read it, and I love the expression. But if I use it I ought to be able to explain where I got it. Can anyone help?”

Charles Cassady seeks a source for “It’s not the dark I fear. It’s the things moving around in the dark,” or “a more popular variation: ‘I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of the things moving around in the dark.’ I think the second version has been popularized by the Web phenom of creepypasta. The first version I came across was quoted by infamous filmmaker Ed Wood Jr. in his posthumously published Hollywood Rat Race, so it goes back at least to the 1970s. It is clear Wood derived it from some other source, unknown to me.”

“a bum in boots” (July-August). John Gordon identified the poem in question as “Sketch from Loss of Memory,” by Sonya Dorman, published in the May 11, 1968, issue of Saturday Review (page 73) and later included in Sounds and Silences: Poetry for Now, compiled by Richard Peck (1970, page 93) and Currents: Concerns and Composition (1971, page 438), edited by Thomas E. Sanders. Gordon writes: “The passages remembered by Mr. Kennelly are: ‘The neighbor’s boy / shines his motorcycle in the evenings. / “A bum in boots,” they call him./’ and ‘...a smell of burnt grease / as sweet as horse sweat.’”

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Updated to include the full date of publication for “Sketch from Loss of Memory” in Saturday Review.

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