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Louie Crew, Ph.D. D.D., D.D., D.H.L.
Emeritus Professor
Rutgers University


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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu

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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


12/21/1974
 
8/17/2006
 
 
Most writers--poets in especial--prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine frenzy--an ecstatic intuition--and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought--at the purposes seized only at the last moment--at the innumerable glimpses of idea that arrived not at the maturity of full view--at the fully matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable--at the cautious selections and rejections--at the painful erasures and interpolations--in a word, at the wheels and pinions-- the tackle for scene-shifting--the stepladders and demon- traps--the cock's feathers, the red paint and the black patches, which in ninety-nine cases of a the hundred, constitute the properties of the literary histrio.
--Edgar Allen Poe

Words' Worth with a Spelling-Checker
and On-Line Thesaurus

by Louie Crew

Appeared in Hiram Poetry Review 44 & 45 (Winter-Spring, 1988): 78-80.
© 1988 by Hiram Poetry Review. © 2004 by Louie Crew





I open a new file called DAFFODIL.S and enter:

I went for a walk and saw a crowd of flowers that moved me greatly, especially now that I remember them.
I like the personification in "crowd" and embellish at my CRT:
and all at once I saw a crowd
of golden daffodils.
I can fix the meter of the second line later. First I want to change "I went for a walk" so that it rhymes. I walked browed...? I walked bowed?.... No!

At this point I could

  • decide that this idea is too silly for a poem and choose another.
  • fetch a rhyming dictionary and mutilate it with Post-Its for an hour.
  • plead Writer's Block and call a psychologist.
  • buy Lyrical Ballads
  • all of these.
Instead, I move the cursor to crowd, put a space before owd, and place the cursor under the "o." I hit the hot keys which trigger my spelling check for a single word (in WordStar 4.0: Ctrl-K-N). CorrectStar suggests:
            Word:  "owd"

     Suggestions:  1 own  2 odd  3 old  4 owed  5 ad  6 add  7 aid  8 ed.

                   M display more suggestions

Yes, the experience was "odd." It was my "own." I will "add" other stanzas. I might ____ed it? It could "aid" my aesthetic....

No! I try "M" for "more suggestions":

            Word:  "owd" 

       Suggestions:  1 A.D.  2 O.D.  3 RD 

Intense, yes; but overdose? Insulting! Not since I played around in France. "A.D."? Of course, but who cares. "RD": Grasmere has only rural delivery! I want rhyme, not all this consonance and assonance. I'll try "oud,"; different spelling, but sometimes the same sound.

I change crowd to croud and hit the hot keys again:

            Word:  "croud"

   Suggestions:  1 crowd  2 cloud  3 proud  4 crude  5 crud  6 creed  

Surely!:
 
I walked as a cloud....
and all at once I saw a crowd
of golden daffodils.


 Move the cursor to "dils" and put a space before it:
 

of golden daffo dils.


Put the cursor under dils and hit the hot keys.

            Word:  "ils."

     Suggestions:  1 ill  2 ifs  3 ins  4 its  5 is  6 ills  7 oils  8 ails

No, not sickness. "Ills"? Yes. Double the "l":

BILLS Ugh! Never again, if I polish this off.

CILLS Kills? Save for a tragedy.

DILLS I must show Dorothy where to find the weed.

FILLS Supper at 7.

GILLS no; but save the bay for the next stanza.

HILLS I think I've got it:
 

I walked tired as a cloud....
that rides high over hills
and all at once I saw a crowd
of golden daffodils.


Now let's dicker with that bad meter in the first line:

                    x    /     /    / x  /

                    I walked tired as a cloud....

I move the cursor to the word just before the offense: walked. What's a two-syllable word that says the same thing more precisely? I hit the hot keys for my thesaurus (Alt-1 for Word-Finder):
                         walk:

       noun alacrity, cadence, celerity, dispatch, gait, pace, quickness, 
       rapidity, rate, speed, step, stride, swiftness, trot, velocity;        gait,          
       march, pace, shuffle, step, stride; 
       hike, march, stroll, tramp, trek. 

       verb itinerate, meander, perambulate, promenade, ramble, range, 
       roam, rove, saunter, stray, stroll, traipse, travel, traverse, wander; 
       amble, hike, journey, march, pace, parade, plod, saunter, step, 

       stride, stroll, strut, tramp, tread, trek. 

       stride, stroll, strut, tramp, tread, trek.                               

It's easier now. If I finish by tea time, I will take a long walk.
 



 

WordStar and CorrectStar are trademarks of MicroPro. Word Finder is the trademark of Microlytics, Inc.


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