Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day 3: tell me how you really feel— a concrete poem #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth

Today, my inspiration comes from The Daily Poet, a calendar year's worth of writing prompts by Kelli Russell Agodon & Martha Silano. I highly recommend you pick up a copy if you're looking for a prepared daily bundle of fuel to ignite your imagination.  Today's challenge? Write a concrete poem. Sometimes called pattern or visual poems, they are written and presented in the shape of the subject of the poem itself.

Even if you haven't heard of concrete poems, you've probably written one. They're a favorite form for elementary school teachers to introduce to young children in hope that the shapes will intrigue students enough to pay attention to their meanings. In 6th grade, my teacher had us write poems in the shapes of our Chinese zodiac symbols. Mine was in the shape of a pig. (Now you know how old I am!)

Here's mine for today. I never learned the Palmer Method, so I have provided a typed version below the picture. My daughter says it looks "like a box with a bunny nose" so I'm glad I decided to take a picture of it next to the object it represents. For clarity.

tell me how you really feel—a concrete poem by Amy Baskin

tell me how you really feel
goddamn this thin digital
piece of shit encased in a plastic box
is a vortex you slip through
a wormhole that exacts a monthly charge and
your attention from the now

—Amy Baskin

 The form has been around for awhile. Check out the poem above. George Herbert's concrete poem "Easter Wings" (1633) was printed sideways on facing pages so that the shape resembled angel wings outstretched. Not that there's anything "concrete" about angel wings. You can write about the ethereal, too.

Got an object you'd like to write about concretely? Share it in the comments!

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