Friday, January 04, 2019

Ringing in the New Year with My Poetry Sisters

My sisters and I have committed to another year of poetry challenges. We were a bit late on deciding this month's, so I tossed out a few photos from an exhibition on campus and asked folks to write to an image. 

I chose Alphabet Portfolio by James Stroud and Matthew Carter, a series of 26 prints of the letters of the alphabet in different typographical formats.

My poem was inspired by May Swenson's Cardinal Ideograms, one of my favorite poems about numbers and what they resemble.

Linguistic Ideograms, a Dyslexic's Nightmare

a   face in profile sporting
a 50's pompadour

c   the dinner plate between
the bread and drink
(join forefingers to thumbs
and you'll see what I mean)

e    the tip of a pig's tail

f    a tree whose crown is
weighed down with snow

g    crooked 8 written by a hand
touched with Parkinson's

h    holy hell! how many more
of these?

eyes tortured by symbols
on the page
there's a broken ladder, open zipper,
winding garden hose, a camel's back
but ...
no words
no sentences
no sense

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Andi and Kelly are out this month, but they will be back with us soon.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children. Happy new year and happy poetry Friday friends!


  1. Yes. I love how you wrote about the letters as they appear. I started down that route but lost my way. But I was amazed how just the boldface, for instance (holy hell), could change the way I felt about a letter. I also somehow loved the hand touched with Parkinson's. Lovely poem, Tricia!

  2. the dinner plate between
    the bread and drink

    That is SO clever, Tricia!!! I couldn't do anything with this image - I loved it, but my brain was not budging. Yay, you, for not just attempting it, but slam dunking.

  3. f a tree whose crown is
    weighed down with snow

    I'll never see the letter "f" the same way...

    Thank you for this, Tricia. And for providing us with juicy images to inspire us and get 2019 started with connection, love, and poetry. May it long continue.

  4. After everyone's response to this particular art I will never look at a letter the same way, will probably want to ask someone, "Do you see. . ." The 'C' is awesome! Your art choices (and sisters) have brought us some amazing poems, Tricia.

  5. F is my favorite but h made me laugh out loud! These are so wonderful, Tricia, something so crafted but also so natural, so stream of consciousness. I love them!

  6. I love how you used Mae Swenson as your inspiration, and didn't just go all whimsical on us, but showed us the "h" of the written language for those who see differently.

  7. Thank you for helping see letters in a new way all the while showing the frustration of those readers for whom letters don't behave

  8. I just found this from Laura's blog. I love it and the entire idea. So....I need some help Y the zipper? n the camel's back, S the garden hose? But the broken ladder...first I saw h as that but then you had used I found r ? Thanks for helping me see what you saw. I think this would be wonderful to share with kids in elementary school and I will when I sub again soon. (I go in to 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. Sometimes they leave me pretty big chunks of time to just poetry!)
    Janet Clare F.
    PS I have a pretty neat story about a dyslexic boy, his mom is my best friend since then, whom I taught to read when he was 5th grade age. He went on to strong academic success. Very bright but reading is a struggle still, even as an adult. BUT he loves to read aloud to his kids and he can read. However what he told me once was that when looking at a page of text (and this was in a paper back copy of Beverly Cleary's Mouse and the Motorcycle) that what he saw was the pattern the white spaces between the words made going down the page! Ever you ever noticed that? You might try it. He was an amazing athlete could catch a baseball running backwards and over his shoulder, etc. But print was not his forte. Though he was eager, smart, well-liked by all, interested in everything, and a hard-worker. I really did help him, but that is because he never gave up and did whatever I asked of him. He and the mom would like this poem a lot!!