Sunday, October 13, 2013

writing styles and barking dogs, for Thanksgiving

This just came from student Jari - enter a block of your prose and it'll tell you whom your writing style resembles. I pasted in the first newly-rewritten paragraph of my memoir, and it said I write like

Fine with me.

And here is a Thanksgiving treat for you, sent by my dear friend Patsy, on Gabriola Island, who empathizes with my dog problem - the dog next door howling and barking when it's alone.

Another Reason Why I Don’t
Keep a Gun in the House

The neighbours’ dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbours’ dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

                                                Billy Collins


  1. Much fun. I am apparently Arthur C Clarke. I would rather be Ray Bradbury. If I had to be a poet I would certainly choose Billy Collins.

  2. Arthur Clarke sold mighty well, I think. And James Joyce didn't. Story of my life!

  3. I got Ursula LeGuin -- and then, with a second sample, Salinger. Huhhh?

  4. Hmmm - the student who sent it got Anne Rice. He's a Czech engineer writing about HIV. I wonder how scientific this program is.

  5. I got David Foster Wallace, Jane Austin and William Gibson for my three most recent blog posts (David for the most recent on Salmon in the Highland Creek ).

  6. That's quite a spread of styles! I'd hate to think the site is random ...