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January 22, 2013


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I'm not sure that I don't want to quarrel with your cavil. True, the Spanish word is singular, but, well, stuff happens when names go traveling.

I think many people speak of the Sierras, or the Sierra Nevadas. I think it can be viewed as short for "Sierra Nevada Mountains" (or do I mean "Sierra Nevada mountains"?). Would you object to "Himalayas"? I think that the whole range is (or was) properly called the Himalaya, but again stuff happens.

Is it possible that Blanco thought about "Sierra" vs "Sierras" and chose the latter because the former would have stuck out in a way that he didn't like? Because he thought that that it is in fact the more widely familiar form of the name? For the sake of parallelism with "Appalachians"?

Or maybe he goofed. And maybe I'm being silly.

Empty: But it isn't "Sierra Nevada Mountains"--not in edited, published writing, according to two style manuals (CMoS and AP Stylebook). That's because "Sierra" means "mountain range."

And yes, it's "Himalaya" in published writing. And "Rio Grande," not "the Rio Grande river."

Oh, but surely a poet isn't supposed to be hampered by style manuals!

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