Recently, one of my colleagues blogged about making lists, reminding me of some poems I wrote based on the list genre. A list is a funny thing, usually parallel in structure. Items on grocery lists tend to be nouns, things to buy. Items on To Do lists tend to be verbs, tasks to accomplish. Because we all make lists, as readers we read list poems with a particular kind of attention because we recognize the list as something we might have written.
This is a poem I actually remember writing almost fifteen years ago, back when the Writing Center at MIT was close to the Charles River and we had windows through which to see it.
How to Get a Poem without Spending Much Money
- Marry someone who has a poem.
- Win a poem in a poker game.
- Buy shares in a poem with a group of people.
- Get an old poem and fix it up.
- Make friends with someone who owns a poem, and get invited to use theirs.
- Rent a poem.
- Trade the use of a poem for something you have (computer, lawn mower, pickup truck)
- Pluck a poem from your neighbor’s garden.
- Don’t get caught.
Spilecki, Susan. “How to Get a Poem without Spending Much Money.” Byline. (Oct. 2001) 248: 19.
This reminds me of the “Ways to Get Money” list (also created at the Writing Center circa 1999) which included, as I recall, “Participate in brain study.”
Probably even the same week.