No Sparkly Pens, Please by Sally Dawidoff

BOMB 104 Summer 2008
Issue 104 104  Cover


No Sparkly Pens, Please

Verbs. Label each verb Action or Linking.

l. be            ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. desire     ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. resent     ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Miscellany Circle the letter preceding each correct answer.


1. The object of the preposition is always

a. A noun or pronoun.

b. The reason for it.

c. Careful: what appears to be a preposition might actually be an adverb. Grammar is unfair, just like life.


2. Does adversity make us stronger?

a. Yes.

b. No.


3. It is important to use the correct case for a pronoun because

a. Pronouns keep prose from being boring, as in this example: “Charlotte snuck a joint and Charlotte attended a faculty meeting and Charlotte Charlotte Charlotte …”

b. If I’m working on my issues so that I can respect myself as a fully realized person, myself is a reflexive pronoun.

c. Precision helps us to communicate clearly. You say, “You like him more than me.” Do you mean “You like him more than you like me”? Or do you mean “You like him more than I like him, so you can go ahead and see him because my marriage is a sham, whereas you two are clearly destined to be together”?


4. In a series, the comma before the coordinating conjunction is important because

a. We need commas in order to breathe.

b. Without the comma, an association between the last two items in the series may be inappropriately implied, with the result that the Reader ends up confused. We’d all be better off if everyone would just stick to the rules. (The rules of grammar, that is. Other rules can sometimes be broken; that’s called “moral relativism.”)

c. The book says so.


Punctuation. Punctuate this dialogue.

Good God said Charlotte That was the
dumbest movie Why did you make me
rent it Youre always making me rent
rotten videos

Gee replied Frank Is it that time of
the month or what I thought the end
ing was cool

Youre kidding That dreck Well it fig


Nothing And would you mind taking
your gargantuan feet off my coffee
table Men

Im leaving

Oh baby wait Im sorry I miss you I
never see you Kiss me


Pronouns. Read the following passage, an excerpt from a recent article in a well-known daily paper. Then circle the letter preceding each correct answer.

Marie is prohibiting her older sister from setting foot on the family estate. She allegedly built a hut on the grounds devoted to the purpose of having relations with her sister’s husband, Frank.

1. Who is “she”?

a. Who indeed but a warm-blooded woman with dreams of her own?

b. Her sister.

c. The antecedent is unclear.


2. Which would fix the problem?

a. A proper noun.

b. An independent clause.

c. Family counseling.


Extra Credit. Diagram this sentence.

My teacher looks young for her age.


Sally Dawidoff’s poems appear this year in American Journal of Nursing, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, and other journals.

Two Poems by Donald Platt
From The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi by Eugene Ostashevsky

I am getting so used to this island it’s becoming like second nurture to me.

Harry Mathews by Lynne Tillman
Mathews 01 Body

Harry Mathews has covered the literary terrain: as short story writer, poet, novelist, essayist, translator and editor. Here, he and Lynne Tillman discuss his recent novel, Cigarettes, the role of the reader, and the OuLiPo’s use of literary contraintes — constrictive forms.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi by Alexandra Kleeman
Azareen Vd Vo

In anticipation of Van der Vliet Oloomi’s new novel, Savage Tongues, the authors consider language, hybridity, and Marguerite Duras.

Originally published in

BOMB 104, Summer 2008

Featuring interviews with Meg Stuart, Karen Kelley and Barbara Schroder, Kalup Linzy, Peter Saul, Mike Davis, Boredoms, Will Eno, and James Timberlake.

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Issue 104 104  Cover