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  • His aesthetic response to these losses was to scrawl very short poems -- what he called 'mirlitonnades' -- on any scrap of paper he could salvage: an envelope, beer mat, even a label from a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky. Biographer James Knowlson notes that Beckett initially named these verse 'rimailles' or 'versicules' before settling on 'mirlitonnades', which some editors have translated as 'bird calls'; but, given the definition of mirliton in the Oxford English Dictionary, the name also recalls the buzzing or nasal quality of the sound produced by a musical instrument that resembles a kazoo. (From Elvish to Klingon, Michael Adams, Oxford 2011)

    April 22, 2012