Archive for the ‘David Foster Wallace’ Category

Concelebratory Shoehorn Review   Leave a comment

The Concelebratory Shoehorn Review is a blogazine that publishes by invitation only, and I have had the privilege to be asked twice.  The most recent time, they published four more of the poems inspired by David Foster Wallace’s dictionary, a collection I fondly call my 3 dollar word poems. In this issue you will find “You Obtund Me”, “Myopic Stipple”, “Such a Nannicock”, and “Lay Offs Induce Catalepsy”.

The nickname 3.00 word came from my poetry professor in college, Dr. Daniel Donaghy, who once told me during an independent study that I should never use a 3 dollar word in my poetry when a 2.00 one would do the same job in half the time. At the time, I was shoving as many heavy words as I could into the lines of my verse, something I was guilty of doing in my every day conversation as well. These days, since most of the people I converse with on a regular basis are under the age of sixteen, I tend to keep the words over 2 syllables to a minimum, otherwise I have to send my children and students running to the dictionary every five minutes.  I have taken Dr. D’s advice to heart, on these matters as well as others, and have become a better poet for it. As you’ll notice in these poems in particular, I keep the big words in the title, and then use the body of the poem to paint a picture of the big word’s meaning.

Do you know what obtund, myopic, nannicock, and catalepsy mean? Spend some time looking them up, and writing out your own definitions.

Tales of the Zombie War   Leave a comment

Fallen angels in Hell

Image via Wikipedia
Today’s poem is called Little Surfle Grrrrl, a poem about zombies. A poem about surfing over a wave of zombies as they march forward in their quest for brains. No, really.
I didn’t start out to write a zombie poem, though I’d written a few before. I’ve been working on a project using unusual words, inspired initially by David Foster Wallace‘s dictionary. For more information on that list you can click  here: The word surfle, however, came from Weeb Heinrich of , who posts daily words of the day on his Facebook page. The word surfle means to wash, as the face, with a cosmetic supposed to have been prepared from sulphur or mercury, called surphuling water. When I think of cosmetics, I think of women, mostly teenaged women who typically experiment with weird concoctions to put on their face to remove acne. I myself slathered my face with mayonnaise, eggs, lemon juice and toothpaste between the ages of 13 and 18. When I think sulphur, I think of Hell, so I imagined a teenager in Hell, how she would try to have fun in that environment. Then a certain Beach Boys song came on the radio, and the rest, as they say, is history. The zombie slant was added in revision, as I tried, and failed, to explain how someone in Hell would be able to find a surfboard. A teenage zombie became much more believable. No, really.
I hope you click the link and enjoy everything zombie poetry has to offer. Afterwards, write down some of your favorite words from the Wallace list, look up their definitions, and weave your own poems and stories around them. Feel free to share them here. See you tomorrow!