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Word of the Day - for Toastmasters everywhere
Thursday 15th November 2018
Archive | Previous word | Today's word |

vatic (adjective) VAT-ik

Prophetic, inspired.

Lurie has nailed a complex character in Delia, an appalling egotist who can segue without warning "into a vatic Jungian mode".

Lucy Ellman, The Guardian, 8 October 2005, Guardian
reviewing Alison Lurie's Truth and Consequences. Amazon

This relentlessly vatic work - in which a young woman confronts and redeems a man condemned to death for killing an inno cent man - is a collaboration between Sam Shepard and the late Joseph Chaikin, more interesting for buffs and chefs (the killer is a cook and offers some good tips) than for punters.

Susannah Clapp, The Observer, 21 September 2003. The Observer

There is interest, too, in the pre-1946 poems, wherein Auden’s jaunty knowing and Yeats’s vatic largeness and Eliot’s dour, mocking music conspire with a faux-rural imagery of wind and sea and sun and trees and heart and blood to enwrap the young Larkin in a fog of abstraction and myth that delay his arrival at the mundane realism, vivid in each wistful, shabby detail, that we know will become his.

John Updike, The New Yorker, 26 July 2004. The New Yorker

And yet, determined to remember every minute leading up to his mother's suicide, he also sees through a child's eye the prelude to statehood in a Promised Land: the gabby idealisms, vatic visions and rich, combustible mix of poet-worker-revolutionaries, vegetarian world reformers, pioneer readers of Marx, Freud and Jabotinsky, pious Meah Shearim Jews, '' 'Zion-hating' ultraorthodox communists,'' ''men of khaki,'' ''eaters of salad with an omelette and yogurt,'' outcasts, nihilists, Yemenites, Frenchified Levantines and Kurds; the dusty cypresses, pale geraniums and pickled gherkins; the lace curtains, boiled fish, Lysol and paraffin; the youth movements, curfews, Maccabees and Stern Gang; the geckos and scorpions, witches and snails, Shakespeare and Chopin, Gilgamesh and Nemo; the blunt razor blades, cheap sardines, smelly cigarettes, barbed wire and snipers; leopards in a garden on a Sabbath afternoon and mosques turning gold when the sun sets.

John Leonard, The New York Times, 12 December 2004, New York Times
reviewing Amos Oz's A Tale of Love and Darkness. Amazon

It's not quite right to call Larkin a prophet because others also saw it coming, but there is a certain vatic quality to that poem, which was commissioned, incidentally, by the Department of the Environment for a report called How Do You Want to Live?

Michael Henderson, Telegraph, 3 February 2007. Telegraph

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