My full-length book, Where We Think It Should Go, can be yours via Octopus Books, Small Press Distribution, or Amazon. We better celebrate these hard copies while we can. When I'm not writing poetry, I teach amazing young people who are blind. I believe in a healthier future.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


From OED Online

1. a. A covering or sheet of canvas coated or impregnated with tar so as to make it waterproof, used to spread over anything to protect it from wet. Also, without a or pl., canvas so tarred; sometimes applied to other kinds of waterproof cloth.

1605 B. JONSON Volpone IV. i, On the one [wall] I strain me a fair tarpauling, and in that I stick my onions, cut in halves. a1625 H. MANWAYRING Nomencl. Naval. (Harl. MS. 2301), Tarpawling, is a peece of Canvas that is tar'd all over to Lash upon a Deck or Grating to keepe the Raine from Soaking through. 1626 CAPT. SMITH Accid. Yng. Seamen 30 A trar-pawling [sic] or yawning. 1652 ASHMOLE Theat. Chem. Brit. Prol. 12 To Hang a Presence Chamber with Tarpalin, instead of Tapestry. 1719 DE FOE Crusoe I. 68, I made me a large Tent,..and cover'd the uppermost with a large Tarpaulin which I had sav'd among the Sails. 1800 COLQUHOUN Comm. Thames 639 Each Lighter is furnished with a Tarpaulin to protect the Cargo from damage. 1890 W. J. GORDON Foundry 150 In the days when the London and Birmingham Railway considered it so beneath their dignity to carry coals to London that they introduced tarpaulins for the purpose of hiding the vulgar freight of which they were ashamed.

b. A sailor's hat made of tarpaulin.

1841 in TOTTEN Naval Text-Bk. (Webster). 1845 S. JUDD Margaret II. xi, A burly fellow in a tarpauling and blue jacket. 1858 in SIMMONDS Dict. Trade.

2. a. transf. A nickname for a mariner or sailor, esp. a common sailor. Now rare or arch. (Cf. TARPAULIAN, TAR n.1 3.)

1647 CLEVELAND Char. Diurnal-maker Wks. (1687) 82 He is a perfect Sea-man, a kind of Tarpawlin. 1660 HOWELL Parly Beasts 12 To be a Mariner, or Tarpaling, is one of the most servile and slavish condition of life that can be. 1687 SETTLE Refl. Dryden 21 He was too blame for making his Hametalhaz a Courtier and no Tarpolin. 1722 DE FOE Col. Jack i, Every tarpawling, if he gets but to be lieutenant of a press smack, is called captain. 1849 DICKENS Dav. Copp. xxi, What does this here blessed tarpaulin go and do? 1893 STEVENSON Catriona xxx. 366 The seamen pursued us... They were but bandy-legged tarpaulins after all. 1922 JOYCE Ulysses 610 Chews coca all day long, the communicative tarpaulin added. 1963 Australasian Post 14 Mar. 44/1 All the ‘tarpaulins’ had abandoned their lives of near slavery at sea and with fine wisdom had scattered inland.

b. Formerly applied to a sea-bred superior officer (captain, etc.) as contrasted with the military officers often appointed to command men-of-war. (Cf. 3b.) In quot. 1909 erron. taken as = ‘ranker’.

c1690 R. GIBSON (B.M. Add. MS. 11602, lf. 40), Upon the Different Conduct between Seamen and Gentlemen Commanders in ye Navy (not bredd Tarr Pawlins) since 1652. 1855 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. xvi. III. 716 There was an end of privilege if an Earl was to be doomed to death by tarpaulins seated round a table in the cabin of a ship. 1894 C. N. ROBINSON Brit. Fleet 347 Drake and his brother tarpaulins. 1909 Naval Warrant Officers' Jrnl. Dec. 138/2 It would have been deeply interesting had Mr. Hannay en passant designated those Admirals and Captains who were called ‘Tarpaulins’ because of their ranker origin. Ibid., Captain James Cook, the explorer, Captain C. Askew, and Captain J. Coglan are three of many names of ‘Tarpaulins’ which might be cited.

3. attrib. a. in sense 1: Made of tarpaulin.

1627 CAPT. SMITH Seaman's Gram. xiii. 61 A plug lapped in Okum, and well tarred in a tarpawling clout. 1688 in Daniell's Catal. Autograph Lett. (1904) July 30/2 Yesterday my Ld. Chancellour was taken at Wapping in a tarpalin habitt. 1832 C. M. GOODRIDGE Voy. South Seas 25 Carefully secured from the damp in a tarpawling bag. 1833 MARRYAT P. Simple xliii, There's many a clear head under a tarpaulin hat.

b. in sense 2 or 2b: Of, belonging to, or that is, a mariner or sailor; sea-bred. Now rare.

1647 WARD Simp. Cobler 16 A shamefull sliding into other such tarpauling tenets. 1654 WHITLOCK Zootomia 221 A learned vote that any Tarpawlin Marriner might have nulled. c1690 R. GIBSON (B.M. Add. MS. 11602, lf. 47), I finde many Accidents to have happened for want of Tarrpawling Commanders or Gentlemen throughly acquainted with Maritime Affaires. 1692 LUTTRELL Brief Rel. (1857) II. 354 Divers tarpawlin masters of ships recommended by the Trinity house, have passed examination in order to be received into the King's service. 1696 in Ab. De la Pryme's Diary (Surtees) 278 Chattam, a small tarpaulin town, joyning to Rochester. 1836 W. IRVING Astoria III. 222 John Young, the tarpawling governor of Owyhee. 1889 DOYLE Micah Clarke 23 He was one of the old tarpaulin breed, who had fought..against Frenchman, Don, Dutchman, and Moor.

4. Comb., as tarpaulin-maker, -covered adj. tarpaulin muster [MUSTER n.1], a collection or pooling of money among seamen; also transf. and fig.

1858 SIMMONDS Dict. Trade, Tarpaulin-manufacturer, one who oils or tars canvas for covers. 1889 in Cent. Dict. 1897 Outing (U.S.) XXX. 261/2 A tarpaulin-covered box of tackle belonging to Harry. 1904 E. S. EMERSON Shanty Entertainment 26 Each one in the room to sing, recite, or shout all round, and..a tarpaulin muster every half-hour for drinks, or smokes. 1907 Daily Chron. 25 Oct. 7/2 A young tarpaulin-maker of nineteen. 1907 J. MASEFIELD (title) A tarpaulin muster. 1920 P. L. WALDRON Afloat & Ashore vii. 83 The crew had a tarpaulin muster to have a last evening ashore. 1945 E. GEORGE Two at Daly Waters 102 As she had not brought a town outfit, Daly Waters had what we call in the bush a tarpaulin muster (the loan of everybody's best clothes). 1954 H. W. EDWARDS Under Four Flags xxiv. 125 With the generosity proverbial among sailors, they had a ‘tarpaulin muster’.

Hence tar{sm}paulin v., trans. to cover with a tarpaulin; intr. to shelter oneself under a tarpaulin; tar{sm}paulined a., covered with a tarpaulin.
1882 ‘F. ANSTEY’ Vice Versâ xvi, Some tarpaulined cattle-vans. 1891 C. MACEWEN 3 Women in 1 Boat 85 We discussed whether we would ‘tarpaulin’ there for the night. 1894 Outing (U.S.) XXIV. 376/2 We had another boat, but it was housed and tarpaulined on deck.

Tarpaulin Sky Print Issue

Paperback. 7"x9", 162 pages
Fall/Winter 2007
ISBN: 9780977901968

Featuring new work by Rosa Alcalá, Samuel Amadon, Lucy Anderton, Claire Becker, Cara Benson, Ilya Bernstein, Joseph Bradshaw, Popahna Brandes, Daniel Brenner, Lily Brown, Julie Carr, Laura Carter, Jon Christensen, Heather Christle, John Cotter & Shafer Hall, Patrick Culliton, John Deming, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Danielle Dutton, Sandy Florian, Hillary Gravendyk, Annie Guthrie, Brent Hendricks, Anna Maria Hong, John Hyland, Lucy Ives, Karla Kelsey, Steve Langan, Barbara Maloutas, Sarah Mangold, Justin Marks, Teresa K. Miller, Jefferson Navicky, Bryson Newhart, Nadia Nurhussein, Thomas O'Connell, Caryl Pagel, Nate Pritts, Elizabeth Robinson, F. Daniel Rzicznek, Spencer Selby, Brandon Shimoda, Lytton Smith, Sampson Starkweather, Mathias Svalina, Jen Tynes, Prabhakar Vasan, Della Watson, Theodore Worozbyt, Bethany Wright, and Kristen Yawitz.


1. A cloud. Obs.

c1384 CHAUCER H. Fame III. 1600 A certeyn wynde..blewe so hydously and hye That hyt ne left not a skye In alle the welkene.


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