Tuesday, April 7, 2009

National Poetry Month

I am not so big on poetry. I like a few poets, but usually just a few of their poems (that being so rare, I like to pretend that means I like the poet themselves too).

I try really hard to enjoy poetry whenever I cross paths with it, because I know that I ought to be more enthusiastic about it than I am (it all goes back to that English major thing).

But now I work at a library and we do things for special literary months like this one, so I decided I ought to make some kind of fuss about this whole thing.

Did I mention I only like a handful of poems? Right now the count is under five.

Since I couldn't really do a poet spotlight where I proclaim one poet worthy of our celebration when I disagree for whatever reason, like Emily Dickinson (emo) or Poe (chronically depressed) or Wordsworth (sappy) or one of our many modern poets (boring/pointless/still depressing/overtly sexual) or even Coleridge (opium addict), I decided to make my prey (the young adults of Wabash) do it themselves.

I would foray into magnetic poetry.

Now, since we don't have a fridge big enough or any kind of chalkboard setup, I would have to get creative.

The little board we do have, I thought, was covered in some kind of fabric that would allow Velcro adhesion, I would do words and put Velcro on the back so you could still attach it, but move it later.

I will come back to that.

Then I decided it was important that I get words. I don't write poems--what kind of words do you use and how many come in a package of Magnetic Poetry? Any words wouldn't do it. I had to have poetry words. And not dirty ones, there are teenagers in this library that watch Family Guy and repeat what they hear.

So I went searching for word lists and found a few. One was the most commonly used words in the English language--can't go wrong there. Another was something a teacher had come up with that I thought might help (it didn't--too many little kid words like dinosaur and bubblegum) and another was just a list of 1000 words commonly used in our language. Although many of them were misspelled so I don't know how much of an authority that makes the person who wrote it up.

Mere copying/pasting of these words wouldn't work, since the lists were in Adobe PDF format and unchangeable, and they wouldn't allow the copy/paste function to occur.

So I printed the lists and set out crossing out repeated words and taking out words that could be misconstrued as sexual by preteen and teenage (boys) poets.

Then I started typing.

Meanwhile, April, a fellow library employee here in the Children's Room, asked me how I intended to stick the words onto the board. "Velcro," I said. "Yeah," she said, "But that board is cork."

I told her I thought not, then went to check and found that I had hallucinated a cloth covering for the board that did not exist. So now I have to go find felt at Walmart and cover one side of the board, pinning then stapling the felt to the surface of the board so the words will stick.

This is not mentioning the whole need I have to finish typing, print, laminate, and cut out words for the board. I will be lucky to get it done this week.

Meanwhile, the month of April won't last forever, even if I ask it to, and I wouldn't know who to ask about it anyway. Maybe Mom was right to ask me a billion times if she could help. Or not.

I think I need a shorter word list.

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