Thursday, April 22, 2010


We've (freshmores y yo) been into the poems again this past week, playing with sharks and Gertrude's chicken and GS's directional reflections in Stanza XXXVIII in "Stanzas in Meditation" (Anyone can learn that north of course / Is not only north but north as north).

Vivian Shipley's instructional "What to Do About Sharks" started us off. It's a fun poem: you can find it here. We used the poem as a prompt for other odd instructional manual poems. Here's my riff:

What to Do About Georgian Grain Elevators


Take them to the ninth floor.
Gaze tenderly about you - cash in
on the royal view. Forget temptation,
we're not on about all that, now
are we, dear? Above all, exercise


Fit it all out in red papeles, but
ignore the temptation to piddle.
Keep cinnamon in her place, she so
nasty in all her juvenile glory. Ashcan wisdom
begs for mercy, but you needn't


Take it down a foot or two.
Inquire if census forms are filled out
correctly - anyone in the back room?
Tornado corn silks make for nice
appetizers, but don't overdo. Squid always
makes for a better companion.

Next up, we had some rousing fun with Stein's "Tender Buttons [Chicken]. GS's is here; my take follows:


Salted goo, amphibian slice and dice, fishy fingers in fried air.


Slalom slide in Stowe, more stowe than show, more show than stowe, slaloming.


Wide brim brimming brimmingly, brimming at the beach, brimming the icy cups, brimming her frozen hair, evenly black the blacking.


Calculated murk in murky thirds, murking the third birds murkily.

PORRIDGE. (via joni)

Belly full of lazy, all for something shady, maids marian merrying their merry whey.



Blogger Dee Martin said...

recognized the Joni in there - fun stuff. Got to go read the originals now. Your class needs a blog of it's own to publish their goodies. I would read :)

9:05 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Super cool poems, Murat. Why does your porridge have fish in it?

11:21 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: I agree about the blog for the kids' writings. One of a couple of projects on my "busta move" list for (hopefully) next year.

3:54 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: Salted cod porridge! (I first wrote salted "cad." Probably more to the point.) BaccalĂ  bacchanal!

3:56 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

Caught up on reading and commenting for the moment. Read the originals.
Loved the Shark poem but on the whole, I think I prefer both of yours. I KNOW I prefer your riff on Tender Buttons which didn't really appeal to me so much.

Favorite bits - ashcan wisdom (I would HAVE to reply), nasty cinnamon, tornado cornsilks and throwing in the bit about census forms was golden. The second piece was a slalom ski trip back and forthing easy down the hill, til we get to the bottom and party at the lodge. Much more fun than Stein's silly chicken...

5:42 PM  
Blogger anno said...

I love Dee's suggestion. Would definitely read this. Might even "follow" it.

Want/need/desire/crave a collection of the exercises you do with your students. The end of the term is nigh; I feel some writing coming on...

6:28 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: I liked Shipley's poem, more than the kids did. They've actually grown rather fond of Gertrude's bizarre riffs: we all liked the "dirty thirds / dirty birds" and we all cracked up with "Sticking in a extra succession, sticking in." Interestingly, they are not easy to read aloud, because the eye wants to insert something that's not there, as in "in AN extra succession," instead of "in A extra succession." Tricky girl, that G.

7:59 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: Just need to commit to the blog for next year. Would be a great thing, I'm sure. Need to get over any lingering piddly resistances.

As for "prompts," for now we're just riffing off poems that grab me: Stein to show them they ain't the onliest dirty birds in the world and other topics that might grab the adolescent brain: sharks for sure.

You best just pay a visit to Tres Leches. Grab some spring while you're at it, pay a visit to the General's widow.

8:04 PM  

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