VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410

Website for Vision Voice and Practice: An Interdisciplinary Course in Art and Creative Writing

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Student Work

The poetry students have been asked this semester to write poems according to some limitation(s) of their own choosing. So, for example, Melissa Gutierrez has been writing nothing but sestinas. More than one student has been working within syllabic restrictions, as is the case with Erin Arendse. Her poem, below, takes its formal cues from Marianne Moore, but part of the fun of this poem is in how it reveals something about Moore's voice: that it was not just a product of her idiosyncratic commitments to line length or syllabic count. If that were the case, Erin's poem would carry the same aura as Moore's. It doesn't. It carries its own, almost O'Hara-like vibe, while working within the kind of line and stanza limitations we don't see in O'Hara.

Replication with Projector on Vinyl

Searching each cornered tea house and street front
coffee shop hoping the next one will have
          a public restroom
          obliged to order
          every time

“12 oz. house brew please, black.” Each little place
unique yet somehow the same. With Billie
          Holiday crooning
          in the background at
          this one followed

by John Mayer then Norah Jones at the
next. The one on 3rd and State Street has a
          wall full of books, 4th
          and State’s place features
          local working

artisans and a painting of a man
with a coffee mug, staring at walls of
          books just like the one
          on 3rd street. On 6th
          Street, something new:

heat lamp on the veranda, tables for
two and four set in patterns according
          to the rule of odds.
          Gilpin didn’t know,
          neither did Marx,

what he was talking about. You see, I
figured it out. All men are born evil.
          If they weren’t, every
          tea house would have a
          public restroom.

But my grandparents always call at the
worst times and I can’t seem to remember
          what I never meant
          to forget, so I’ll
          answer this one.

“Hello. Yes, I’m fine. How are you?”


More poems to come.


  1. Hey, I like that poem! Love the ending...
    Caley O'Dwyer

  2. You're reading and commenting on our blog! Very cool!