Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lists

It doesn't surprise me that there is such a thing as a "list poem." I'm a big fan of lists--I could hardly navigate my way through a week without them--and there are some lists that do evoke the poetic. I've always loved lists of colors (as in a watercolor paintbox, a box of crayons, a clothing catalog, paint chips). A menu is a mouth-watering list. A trip to the airport offers a horizontal list poem as I walk past other gates to get to mine, reading the destinations off the gate screens and mentally adding an exclamation point to each: Honolulu! Phoenix! San Francisco! Denver! Seattle!

I snuck a list poem of sorts into my third novel, Until It Hurts to Stop, when the main character muses over the names of mushrooms in a field guide. Tree names, bird names, and wildflower names are just as satisfying. (I used to pore over a flower book that included in its offerings "viper's bugloss," "blue vervain," and "butter-and-eggs." What more could a word person ask, than such names?) The challenge in a creative list, such as a list poem, is deciding what to include and what to leave out, and how to arrange the items. But sometimes I just enjoy the lists I stumble across in the world as found poems.

4 comments:

  1. My lists are more mundane: buy soap, do the laundry, take a hike. I like yours much better.

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    1. Imagine a short story made out of a to-do list. That could even be a good exercise--we could give our characters more exciting lists than we have ourselves!

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  2. Lists get me through my week, Jennifer. Another good list idea is the names of paints in the paint store. Lots of imagination in some of those paint names. All the best, Jennifer!

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    1. Is what we have "listophilia?" All the best to you as well!

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