This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 423,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Slam Tutorial: The List Poem
The list poem is one of the simplest poetic forms. Essentially, the poet takes a simple theme and pens a list of extended metaphors, similes, narratives, punchlines, twists on cliches and turns of phrase. The art form is not simply listing things, but leading to audience to assume what's coming next, then flipping the expectation on its head.
Shihan's "This Type Love" is a prime example of a list poem. It runs with a number of stereotypical young love themes, but done with colloquial understanding of human nuance:
"I wanted to see how far I could get without calling you, / and I barely made it out of my garage"
"I want to celebrate one of those month anniversaries even though they ain't really anniversaries, but doin' it just cause it makes her happy"
Yet still incorporates a degree of somewhat rational self-interest:
"I want a love that makes me want to cut off all my hair / Well, maybe not all of the hair / maybe just cut the split ends and trim my mustache"
If you choose to incorporate this style of poem into your repertoire, the art is in doing the unexpected, playing with the audience's intentions and expectations, and writing outside the box.
This Type Love
I want a love like me
thinking of you
thinking of me
thinking of you type love,
or me telling my friends more than I've ever admitted to myself about how I feel about you type love,
or hating how jealous you are, but loving how much you want me all to your self type love,
or seeing how your first name just sounds so good next to my last name,
and shit, I wanted to see how far I could get without calling you,
and I barely made it out of my garage.
See, I want a love that makes me wait until she falls asleep then wonder if she dreaming about us being in love type love,
or who loves the other more,
or what she's doing at this exact moment,
or slow dancing in the middle of our apartment to the music of our hearts, closing my eyes and imagining how a love so good could just hurt so much when she not there.
Shit, I love not knowing where this love is headed type love.
And check this, I want to place those little post-it notes all around the house so she never forgets how much I love her type love then not have enough ink in my pen to write all there is to love about her type love.
Hope that I make her feel as good as she makes me feel,
and I want to deal with my friends making fun of me the way I made fun of them when they went through the same kind of love type love.
Only difference is this is one of those real love type loves.
and just like in high school, I want to spend hours on the phone with her not saying shit,
and then fall asleep and then wake up with HER right next to me,
and smell her all up in my covers type love
I want to try to counting the ways I love her, and then lose count in the middle just so that I have to start all over again.
I want to celebrate one of those month anniversaries even though they ain't really anniversaries, but doin' it just cause it makes her happy type love.
And check this, I want fall in love with the melody the phone plays when her number is dialed in to her type loves and then talk to you til I lose my breathe, she leaves me breathless, so with the expanding of my lungs I inhale all of her back into me
I want a love that makes me need to change my cell phone calling plan to something that allows me to talk to her longer because, in all honesty, I want to avoid one of them high cell phone bill type loves.
I want a love that makes me regret how small my hands are I mean the lines on my palms don't give me enough time to love as long as I'd like to type loves,
and I want a love that makes me st-st-st-st-stutter just thinking about how strong this love is type love.
I want a love that makes me want to cut off all my hair ...
Well, maybe not all of the hair
maybe just cut the split ends and trim my mustache, but it will still be a symbol of how strong my love is for her.
And check this, I kinda feel comfortable now, so I can tell y'all this:
I even be fantasizing about walking out on a green light just dying to get hit by a car just so I could lose my memory get transported to some third world country
just to get treated
then somehow meet up again with you so that I could fall in love with you in a different language just to see if it still feels the same type love.
I want a love that's as unexplainable as she is, but I'm married, so she is going to be the one that I share this love with.