Poetry News

Blackberrying with Sylvia Plath

By Harriet Staff

The New Yorker takes a look at Sylvia Plath and the UAE Blackberry ban:

Once the announced ban on BlackBerry devices takes effect in October, folks in the United Arab Emirates and, it seems, in Saudi Arabia, will have to find new ways to exercise their thumbs and annoy their fellow elevator-riders [ . . . ] BlackBerry’s prominence in the news this week reminded me that unlike some of its modern brand cousins (Xerox, Google), it has yet to achieve transitive-verb status in the English language. No one is said to be “blackberrying” anything when they’re clacking away on those tiny keys.

Such a word would be absurd—no one “iphones” anything, either—but it nonetheless has a significant literary pedigree, being the title of a poem by Sylvia Plath, published in the September 15th, 1962 issue of The New Yorker . . .

Originally Published: August 4th, 2010