The Largest Sundae at Friendly's
Photo by Amy LV
On Saturday evening, my father and children and I went to Friendly's for dessert. At first, no one could decide what to order. Friendly's ice cream menu is extensive, and everything looks scrumptious. Then we saw it: a giant 12 scoop sundae, complete with 6 toppings of your choice. The price was $12.49, and we were all awed by the idea of a 12 scoop sundae. I wrote down each person's choices of ice cream and toppings on a napkin which we handed to our waitress. Then we waited. When our masterpiece arrived, I was amazed that music didn't start playing in the background. It was beautiful! We ate and ate and ate, spoons bumping into each other, asking questions such as, "Is this mint chip or pistachio?" and "Did anyone find the Heath bits yet?"
Did we finish the sundae? Well, almost. We left a bit of ice cream sludge at the bottom and perhaps a couple of Oreo bits. Will we order this massive sundae again? Of course!
Students - have you ever heard people say, "Ice cream just slides in the cracks"? I have, and that's probably where this poem idea came from, from a saying I've heard several times before. Poems can, indeed, come from phrases you hear, bits of conversation and sayings. Listen carefully as you go through your day and words from others' mouths may inspire a poem idea.
The past two days found me away from home, working on a different computer. After writing simply formatted poems with lots of movement, I hurried home to make each of them concrete. If you would like to see revisions to the last two days' now-concrete poems, click to check out "In My Pocket" and "When I Grow Up".
Students - for me, concrete poems do not start out as concrete poems. I do not think, "I'd like to write a poem about a cat so first I will draw the shape of a cat, and then I will fill in some cat-like words." For me, the words always come first. First, I write a poem focusing on the exact words for my story or list. After the words match my wish, the question of concrete-ness comes as a revision question. I ask myself, "Might this poem work in a different shape?" If it is a poem with lots of movement, I try it out. For me, the fun is in making each concrete poem a bit of a challenge to read. I hope that readers will experience one split second of puzzle solving, one moment of wondering where to start and how to read. Then, of course, I hope that the line of the poem will make sense and will follow the movement's meaning.
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