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The Wug Test: Poems

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews
A collection of language-driven, imaginative poetry from the winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series Open Competition.

Jennifer Kronovet’s poetry is inflected by her fraught, ecstatic relationship with language—sentences, words, phonemes, punctuation—and how meaning is both gained and lost in the process of communicating. Having lived all over the world, both using her na
ebook, 96 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Ecco
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a spectacular book investigating the radical act of learning words.
Nazmi Yaakub
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tidak syak lagi dalam konteks falsafah bahasa, kumpulan puisi pemenang Anugerah National Poetry Series 2015 ini paling sukar untuk dikunyah - bagaimana linguistik yang teknikal tetapi punya falsafah (kerana manusia itu sendiri adalah hidupan yang berbicara - bicara itu pula adalah tanda roh intelektual manusia) dibentuk dalam puisi yang menjadi genre paling minimal ucapannya tetapi luas ungkapannya.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Delicate and personal. And perfectly curious: about words, about learning. I loved this view of motherhood (via language learning). A thin book I carried across the Atlantic and read while waiting for trains in Stockholm and Helsinki, places full of the confusion (for me) of words!
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this so much-

When I was younger I read or heard or was told that close readings of poetry can rewrite neural pathways of the brain- this excited me so much, and created a reverence of poetry beyond what it sometimes warranted-

I love this book because it takes linguistic theories and discusses these sorts of learnings and rewiring on an overt, conscious level. I can see how this book might appeal more or less depending on your interest in or existing concepts on language acquisition, but
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
"Letter" and "Ten Ways to Mourn a Dead Language" were standouts for me. could have done without the cutesy self-referential gestures. having some familiarity with the material this book draws from, I couldn't help thinking that more could have been drawn from more interesting linguistics that haven't been outdated for decades or else that the book could have dug more into the Sapir-whorf hypothesis, which is actually a crazy fucking cluster of hypotheses, which this book didn't, contrary to my f ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Coming off a Seidel kick, it was just sort of boring.
Carley Moore
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
She's a genius! I love this book so much!
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was painful to get through
Saowbia (Ever the Reader)
Meh. This was confusing.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: linguistics, poetry
This title immediately called to me. If you ever studied linguistics, you will know why. And if you ever studied linguistics, you will enjoy this slim little volume! The running theme of a boy learning language for the first time in adolescence is engaging, and the lyrical descriptions of various theories and linguistic skills made me feel right at home in a way I haven’t since college. Short and lovely.
I don't know how to review poetry. I don't read much of it and what I have read was mostly in classes that provide a lot of context and directions for interpretation. I can tell you that, when I saw the description of this poet's work at Kramerbooks (an excellent indie bookstore in DC), I was very excited: poetry that draws and reflects on linguistics and language development. I bought the collection immediately.

It doesn't seem to me like many of these poems would stand well on their own. One or
Brian Wasserman
Feb 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Jean Berko Gleason

Gleason developed The Wug Test in 1958:

This is a WUG. Now there is another one. There are two of them. There are two _______.
This man zibs. A man who zibs is a _______.

The children made the pseudowords follow the rules that happen on the edge of knowing rule as she knew they would. Others believed that grownups merely handed down chunks of language—ice scattering down into the dark after sun hits the surface. But Gleason saw through the reflective glare of children’s speech t
Dec 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
For a book on language, and more specifically on syntax and semantics, it is highly oracular and esoteric. It's incomprehensible by design, like a love letter to Gertrude Stein.

Let's say this was a recipe book, and you picked it up to learn how to make a key lime pie, and the recipe starts with how to get rid of the rust on the key, measure pi by cutting into the lime while imagining what the lime thinks of the lemon. Now, this would still have been somewhat entertaining if the author didn't set
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I always find it difficult to get through an entire collection of poetry; to me, the best poems will always be stand-alones, the rest of the collection a blurring of ideas. Kronovet's poetry is intensely cerebral while trying to capture the absurdity and complexity of language and thought. Given how intellectual the poems are, my favourites were, unsurprisingly, related to my academic interests. Loved "The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis", "Metaphors We Live By: In". Also enjoyed "English Female Speech" ...more
Anatoly Molotkov
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"I can't blame
the language. I can blame
the low river or the thin trees.
But not the sky, which can't help
being what it hides. That
is how words fail."

A deeply intelligent, playful collection that subjects text to linguistic scrutiny while also managing to infuse it with existential angst and emotional urgency - and allows the words to reflect back on the author's own mental fortifications built in a territory occupied by several languages. Essential reading for the lovers of modern poetry.
Ingrid Bremer
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Cee Spind
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Jeffrey Parker
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Jennifer Kronovet is the author of the poetry collection AWAYWARD (BOA Editions, 2009). She is the co-founder and co-editor of CIRCUMFERENCE, the journal of poetry in translation. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Colorado Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, A Public Space, and other journals. She has lived in Beijing, Chicago, and St. Louis, and currently lives in New York City, where ...more