Celebrating 75 Years

Wayne State University Press

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Never Try to Teach a Pig to Sing

Still More Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire

Alan Dundes
Carl R. Pagter

Folklore, Humor

Humor in Life and Letters Series

Published: June 1991
ISBN: 9780814323588
Pages: 436 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 204
Published: June 1991
ISBN: 9780814323571
Pages: 436 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 204
Published: June 1991
ISBN: 9780814337400

“Never Night is a hymn to life, a meditation on day and night, on the seasons, on nature and on love.”

— Adam Zagajewski

Never Try to Teach a Pig to Sing documents the thriving folklore tradition that circulates in the workplace. Alan Dundes and Carl Pagter have collected more than two hundred and fifty "signs of the times"—the office memoranda, parodies, cartoons, and poems that daily make their way through copy machines, interoffice mail systems, and fax machines and are affixed to bulletin boards and water coolers. The rich vein of urban folklore tapped by this imaginative volume constitutes a great testament to one of the world's most prolific authors—anonymous.
The popularity of the items featured in this timely book is apparent by their reproduction in mass or popular cultural form—as greeting cards, plaques, and bumper stickers—reminding us of the inevitable interplay between folklore and mass culture. Dundes and Pagter clearly demonstrate the existence of folklore in the modern urban technological world and refute the notion that folklore reflects only the past.

Alan Dundes is a professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Carl R. Pagter is presently counsel and consultant for a large corporation in California.

Never Night is a hymn to life, a meditation on day and night, on the seasons, on nature and on love. Alaska may be real chilly in the winter but these beautiful poems are more than warm. Apparently poetry can change climate.

– Adam Zagajewski, is a Polish poet, novelist, translator and essayist

Derick Burleson is a thoughtful and deeply observant poet, who has travelled far: to Rwanda, from where he wrote his first book, and in this book, to Oklahoma, Montana, and the Alaskan interior, never night and endless night. In the endless night, his prophet says '. . . And the world will grow/ rife with strange green fire'-and in this book, the world grows fiery with many other births, in consciousness and in the flesh, seen and said.

– Jean Valentine, is an American poet, and was the New York State Poet (2008?2010)