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It’s Day 18 of our month-long daily writing project.

This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. For those of you who are new to the project, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 3 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

We’re also celebrating Poetry Friday. This week’s host is Donna Smith at Mainely Write, who hosted our project earlier this week! If you’re enjoying the poetry community we’re creating with this project, I know you’ll have fun getting to know the Poetry Friday blogging community as well.

It’s a special Poetry Friday for me and my niece, Madeline. We are guests at Penny Parker Klostermann’s blog series “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt.” Madeline drew a Keith Haring inspired scene and my poem accompanies her art.

DSCN6111FOUND: SCULPTURE

Jan Annino Godown of the blog Bookseedstudio contributed our Found Object today.

I was tempted to go searching for more information about this sculpture, but waited until my poem was drafted. From what I can tell, there are several versions of this giant eraser in sculpture gardens around the country. I found more information at the National Gallery of Art’s website. Here are the basics: “Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, American, born 1929, Sweden / American, born 1942, The Netherlands Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1999 stainless steel and cement.”

In looking at today’s found object, I wondered whether teens and twenty-somethings would recognize the everyday object it’s supposed to represent. It looks like Diane Mayr was wondering the same thing.

Field Trip to the Past
By Diane Mayr

I heard her incredulous cry,
“What is that?”
She grew up with laptops and printers.
I grew up writing papers by longhand
then typing them out on a clunky
portable typewriter.

There was a backspace key,
but no delete button.
White-out invented by
a Monkee’s mother had yet
to find a market.
There was only the eraser.
Round, slender, and pink.
With a brush of sorts at the opposite
end used to whisk away
the erasure crumbs of mistakes.

“Well? What is it?”
she asked again.
And realizing I had no formal name
to associate with the pink rolling eraser thing,
I honestly answered,
“Damned if I know.”

***

What stuck out (pun intended) at me was the blue bristles, so my poem focuses on that part of the sculpture.

Blue Hair
By Laura Shovan

Imagine it shooting from the top of my head
like a bamboo forest sprouting on Neptune.
Spiky as blueberry licorice, an upside down
waterfall of frozen blue icicles, a crown
of Bluebeard’s bristles. Imagine it pulled tight,
held in place by a silver elastic, charged
by enough volts of lightning to kill a giant.
Each strand reaches up, as if Medusa
traded in her snakes for a set
of Moray eels, their hungry blue eyes
wondering what everyone’s staring at.
***

Like me, Donna Smith used the sculpture as a jumping off point for some wild imagery.

Mr. E-Racer

Mod unicyclist
With spiked blue hair
Flashes by
As if to dare
Us to stop him
In mid flow,
As he erases
To and fr…

Over jumps,
Wheel a-spin,
Writer’s block
Will not win;
Watch him roll,
See him race,
Making corrections
All over the pl…

He’s brave
And daring,
And paper
Baring,
Helping pencil
Revise writing;
There he goes
He’s so exci…!

Hey, stop erasing
All my lett…
This isn’t getting
Any bet…
If you don’t let
Me finish a thoug…
I cannot fix what
You have wroug…

Okay, off that unicycle,
Mr. E
And let me write
So I can see
And I can read
Before erasing;
Slow down now and
Stop a-racing!

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

***

Carol Varsalona has a narrative poem in response to the sculpture. She is blogging alongside us at Beyond LiteracyLink. 

Magic Eraser rolled into town.
Looking silly as a blue-haired clown
erasing all that was in his sight
causing a stir and a great fright.
The townsfolk turned a shade of white
as all was lost in broad daylight.

Who would stand up for property rights?

A hero came with the speed of light
and took a very fanciful bite.
So limping away in domestic flight
Magic eraser left the suburbanites
and found other towns to rub out that night.
©CVarsalona, 2016

Carol writes, “You have to turn to the blog post to find out the moral of my tale.”

***

I like the way that Mary Lee Hahn focuses on the outlandish size of the object in her poem.

Live Big/Fail Big

Are you willing to risk it?
Will you go for broke?
Take a chance,
Take a dare,
Try that limb?

The payoffs are huge!
Beyond ginormous!
Take the chance,
Take the dare,
Chase the win!

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

Please visit Mary Lee’s blog, where she is posting about our project.

***

Several people got some good advice out of the sculpture. Linda Baie’s counsel is specific to writers.

Dreaming

Advertisement: Poets & Writers
For sale: This splendid little wheel:
–rolls along the hasty scribbles
–rubs away the tired rhymes
–brushes out the crumbs of stale words

Rush order available!
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

***

Catherine Flynn writes, “My high school typing teacher was a stickler for perfection (‘Proofread like the page was typed by your worst enemy!’) so I thought about that angle… I decided to create an erasure poem giving a little history about this giant eraser.”

“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X”

Monuments commemorate
objects
remembered from childhood.
A youngster
playing in his fathers office,
a typewriter eraser
falling
alighted
in a graceful, dynamic
gesture.

By Catherine Flynn

***

It seems fitting to have an acrostic for an object that’s meant to help us with our words. Here is Margaret Simon’s contribution.

An acrostic
By Margaret Simon

Easy
Racing
Across
Scribblings
Undoing
Random
Errors

***

IMG_1921Jessica Bigi turned the round part of the sculpture into another object, a Frisbee. I’m really enjoying the cartoons Jessica has been creating to go along with the poems.

Frisbee
By Jessica Bigi

Squinty eyes
Flick of wrist
Zooming loops
Plastic wings
Looping zags
Floppy saucer
Hooking winds
Wailing crowds
Second wind
Swooping win
Win
Win

***

I can see that the object is making a lot of us feel old nostalgic. Here is Buffy Silverman’s poem.

Homework in the Dark Ages
By Buffy Silverman

Rubbing, rubbing, rubbing
brushing, brushing, brushing
she tries to undo her careless words.

The pink eraser squeaks,
the gritty pile of crumbs grows on her desk blotter,
sticking to the back of her hand.
The smudged paper gets thinner and thinner

until it tears…..

She crumples the paper,
hurls it in the trash
and starts again.

***

Matt Forrest Esenwine knew what functional object the sculpture represented. He says, “I wore those things down to the bone in another lifetime! Another busy day today, so another haiku – well, more senryu, actually.”

If only mistakes
could be so easily brushed
away. If only.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
***

Charles Waters makes a great connection to a topic most children are familiar with. I see a character emerging here!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
By Charles Waters

Blue spiked hair,
pierced eyebrows,
nose, and bottom lip,
fire red lipstick,
tight biker jacket
made with fake leather
cause I love animals,
ripped black jeans,
rainbow colored sneakers.
I look awesome!
And no one can
convince me otherwise!

***

More poems coming in from this prompt. Thanks again, Jan, for sending in such a great object today! I think most of us can relate to Jone MacCulloch’s poem.

Erasure

Oh to take
back the words
written
in anger, in haste
no eraser
no matter
how large
can retrieve
the diatribe
after
pushing
the send button

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

If I missed your poem in the comments, please let me know. I will add it as soon as possible.

deer skull

DAY 19 FOUND OBJECT PROMPT (February 19)

See you tomorrow for Day 19.

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 14
FOUND OBJECT: Hot Potato
Poems by: Violet Nesdoly, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Charles Waters.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1 and Week 2 poems at this post.

Monday, February 15 at My Juicy Little Universe
FOUND OBJECT: Coffee Mug
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Catherine Flynn, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Buffy Silverman, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Donna Smith, Julieanne Harmatz, Jone Rush  MacCulloch, Charles Waters.

Tuesday, February 16
FOUND OBJECT: Sculpture
Poems by: Victoria Costa, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Catherine Flynn, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, Jone Rush MacCulloch.

Wednesday, February 17 at Mainely Write
FOUND OBJECT: Hot  Pink Sandal
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Mary Lee Hahn, Buffy Silverman, Donna Smith, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Laura Shovan, Heidi Mordhorst, Margaret Simon.

 

29 responses to “2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 18, Poetry Friday”

  1. Diane Mayr says:

    Laura, is there really blueberry licorice? I love the moray eels, too. I find them creepier than snakes. What fun from everyone! I have an illustrated version of my poem at Random Noodling for those who might be interested. I guess it’s not surprising that there’s a lot of blue in my illustration.

  2. cbhanek says:

    Thank you for so very much for sharing such a delightful array of found-object poems based on an eye-catching sculpture. (Sometimes I needed that sized eraser!) It’s always so interesting to see the amazing range of found-object poetic interpretations. I enjoyed each one, with a special pull toward the writer’s ad; I surely could use Linda’s handy correcto-spiff-it-up-companion–invention. God bless you! Thank you!

  3. Homework in the Dark Ages

    Rubbing, rubbing, rubbing
    brushing, brushing, brushing
    she tries to undo her careless words.

    The pink eraser squeaks,
    the gritty pile of crumbs grows on her desk blotter,
    sticking to the back of her hand.
    The smudged paper gets thinner and thinner

    until it tears…..

    She crumples the paper,
    hurls it in the trash
    and starts again.

  4. Donna Smith says:

    What a great array of poetry today! I am amazed at the things that have slowly gone by the wayside – and soon no one will have a clue as to what they are, and no one but Google to ask.

  5. Jessica Bigi says:

    Day 19
    Poem By Jessica Bigi

    Screams
    Screaks
    Serials
    Chatters
    Creaks
    Clanks
    Antlers
    Knitting
    Stringing
    Words
    Into
    Ghostly
    Stories
    Of one
    Hours
    Towns
    Tumble
    Weeds
    Rolling
    Dusty
    Trials
    Into
    Desert
    Skies

  6. Linda Baie says:

    Buffy, love your poem. I remember lots of torn paper too! Laura, the blue hair will stay with me a while, love the different approach. Everyone’s is great, again. This particular thing makes me wonder what would happen if you gave the prompt to those students you’ve been working with. What would they imagine?

  7. While I was writing I thought the same as Linda. Would students of today know what this object was back in the day? I loved all the takes on the eraser and there was Jessica’s and Mary Lee’s new found ideas. Laura, your poem was very inventive. I love the emphasis on the blue hair.

  8. […] there’s still plenty more poetry around! You can visit Laura Shovan’s blog for the latest in her February prompt series, the Found Object Poem Project – see the projects, see what folks are writing, and then join in […]

  9. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    Day 19

    Advice

    There’s pride —
    (nothing wrong with pride)
    a warm sense of self-worth
    sitting quietly inside you
    like a steaming cup of cocoa on a winter morning.

    But then there’s hubris —
    a venti double mocha latte with whip and extra sprinkles
    standing there beside your computer in the cafe
    while you pose with your earbuds
    open notebook
    fancy pen
    empty page.

    The trick is knowing the difference.

    ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

    When I started writing, I had no idea how this poem would go with the skull and antlers. I had the phrase “There’s ___, but then there’s ____” in my mind and I opened the post and started writing from that. Somehow my brain gave me pride and hubris. We’ve been noticing similes and metaphors in my 5th grade class, so I had fun making a simile-metaphor-vocabulary poem that will hopefully teach my students a new word. When I was finished, I looked back at the skull and wondered what HE knows about pride vs. hubris, sitting there on the sidewalk for all to see…

  10. Donna Smith says:

    I didn’t have a clue what to write, but then I heard Herman talking from inside the skull, as he tried to cross the sidewalk.

    Herman, the Hermit Part 2

    Yes, sweet, yes, dear,
    I know I’m slow
    But the first one was lighter
    And smaller to tow!
    This one won’t fit me,
    It’s harder to walk;
    I barely can breathe and
    It’s harder to talk!
    No, it’s all right, dear,
    Ill try to adjust.
    I’ll carry it, dear,
    If you think that I must.
    But I really don’t see how
    This shell’s any better.
    It won’t keep out wind,
    And in rain I get wetter.
    I know I look handsome,
    But can’t I come out
    And get my old shell back?
    I don’t mean to pout.
    But maybe I just need
    My small house to carry
    And then, my sweet dear,
    I’d not have to tarry.
    I can still do it, but
    Perhaps I’d not linger
    To get you a ring
    To wear on your finger.
    Oh, sorry, not finger –
    I meant one of your claws
    As I try to propose here
    Can we put this on pause?
    For I’m out of breath
    I just have to rest.

    It’s okay, dear Herman,
    You’ve just passed my test!

    We’ll get your old shell back
    ‘Cause it’s cozy, though drab
    You can wear it on weekends
    And I won’t even crab.

    ©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

  11. What a delightful collection of poems. It’s so interesting to read everyone’s take on the found eraser sculpture.

  12. I feel Buffy’s pain, aspire to have the energy of Mary Lee’s poem, love Carol’s idea of erasing poverty, visited the past with Diane and am now considering how I’d look with blue hair. It could be me. 🙂

  13. Linda Baie says:

    Day 19

    the skull reminds
    as we walk our cement path –
    whose passage was taken
    Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

  14. jama says:

    What fun poems — I’d love to see that giant eraser in person!

  15. I wore those things down to the bone in another lifetime! Another busy day today, so another haiku – well, more senryu, actually:

    If only mistakes
    could be so easily brushed
    away. If only.

    – © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

  16. …and one for tomorrow!

    “Hunting Season”

    Been hunting these woods
    for whitetail deer,
    and wouldn’t you know –
    the buck stopped here.

    – © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

  17. All of the eraser poems are brilliant – not a mistake in the bunch! (must have used their handy erasers…). Neat poetry project, Laura! I’ve checked in a few times to check out the objects/poetry, but so far I haven’t committed to writing a poem. I think I need one of these ginormous erasers to help me edit. =)

  18. Joy Acey says:

    Laura,
    Great project. Great poetry. Thank you.

  19. Jessica Bigi says:

    Day 21 poem By Jessica Bigi

    Old Fashion Sowing

    O val bobbin
    L ickerish black machine
    D ainty stitching

    F ancy stream stress
    A djustable stitching
    S owing threads
    H emming cloth
    I nvisible seams
    O ld fashion
    N eedle thread

    S imple sowing
    O ut dated
    W inding wheel
    I nventive sowing
    N ever easy
    G randmother’s stories

  20. Late but written:
    Erasure

    Oh to take
    back the words
    written
    in anger, in haste
    no eraser
    no matter
    how large
    can retrieve
    the diatribe
    after
    pushing
    the send button

    © 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

  21. […] Thursday, February 18 FOUND OBJECT: “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” Sculpture Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine. […]

  22. […] Thursday, February 18 FOUND OBJECT: “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” Sculpture Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine. […]

  23. […] Thursday, February 18 FOUND OBJECT: “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” Sculpture Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Charles Water, Jone Rush MacCulloch. […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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