The Words You Need to Know to Appreciate Heather McHugh's Poem in the Current New Yorker


Actually, Ooblick came from some old SF books originally, but then so did a lot of the daemon names.
Didn't it come from Bartholomew & the Oobleck (Dr. Seuss)?
I know many of those words, thanks to having read the New Hacker's Dictionary many, many times. Strangely, that makes the poem much less interesting to me, because the words don't have that magical weirdness to them.
Bullshit hackers don't drink.
i remember bartholomew and the ooblick as well one of my fave books when i was kid. but i think that was only illustrated by seuss i could look it up..but i just woke up from my disco nap...
Professor Heather McHugh gave me a 4.0 on my senior thesis thingy in undergrad. And she never fails to amaze with her poetry. Yay Heather!
You can actually appreciate this poem without knowing any of the hacker jargon, because it's apparent that it is not only hacker jargon but also words that have meanings and resonances outside of the hacker context. The doubleness is what matters, not what these words specifically mean -- and most people, even relatively computer-illiterate ones like myself, know enough of this lingo to get some gestalt of things, and (as someone already pointed out) their opacity actually adds intrigue, rather than takes away. If you have to look up every word in order to take pleasure in the poem...well, I don't know what to tell you. I doubt that McHugh cares more about the sense of these words than she does about the sound and texture of them.
meatspace is the best word period
I thought everybody knew what the Dogcow was.
#7 is right. I enjoyed the poem (in a sort of Jabberwocky way) when I only dimly intuited the source of the jargon, and loved the close....but thanks anyway CF for doing all that googling and saving me the trouble!

Yes, of course--you don't need to know these words to appreciate the poems, I just though that made a better headline than "A Few of the Words You Might Want to Know the Meanings of If You Want to More Fully Appreciate..." And sure, you can read and love the poem in an I-just-love-the-sound-of-the-words sorta way without knowing that all these words also do mean specific things to certain people, but that's a light, passive, who-cares-what-it-means style of reading, and you might as well get as much out of something as you can, especially a McHugh poem, which always read so easy but are full of deep jokes and impossibilities and contradictions splitting open. I got home from the store and started Googling all the terms and laughed and laughed.

CF, I totally get it. I once wrote a (very good) poem using a particular chemical reaction (formation of a pi bond, if you must know) as a metaphor for yielding control in an intimate relationship----and got blank stares from all my fellow poets, who (surprise!) had never taken organic chemistry. Some things approach the limits of oxygen-breathing creatures. Again, thanks to you, I get the fuller breadth of the poem, and if you must know, I have emailed your post all over the country to friends and family who otherwise would be adrift. Thanks again, and most sincerely.
This merely seems like Big L's "Ebonics (Criminal Slang)" in hacker drag.
The canonical reference for hacker jargon is the Jargon File, which was passed around between hackers since the earliest days of the Internet. Its current home is and it is highly recommended for all interested readers.