Thinking about what I said last week about writing about food, I came across an example from a long way back that is also a good example of concrete poetry, a poem that is written in the shape of its subject. I do not use this style often (and in the digital age, issues of formatting for audiences on a variety of platforms can be tricky), but I think this is a great example of form following function, since I am trying to say something not only about a piece of fruit but also about women and body image. This was published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. The title comes from a line of a poem by Robert Pack (with whom I studied at Middlebury College), “Guardians” from his book Keeping Watch: “What can the half-grown pears say? ”
What the Pear Says
Now you see
me: chartreuse skin,
ample convexities of
hip, abdomen, buttocks
curving, tapering, as I sit
regarding your twitching
fingers, watering mouth, and
indecisive eyes. Am I heavy?
Not at all. A mere handful. I have hips,
yes, but then so do love’s roses. Oh, I know.
This is not a shape you’ve been taught to desire.
No matter. Slide your hand around me,
pull me close. To taste me
is to love me.
Spilecki, Susan. “What the Pear Says.” Frontiers (1997) 18:1.