Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to write a FOOT co-leader poem

Ah, FOOT.* (Ooh, I look like an Asian grandpa on the site!)

I found this in the figurative dust bin of my computer, and do not want to lose it.

to Jeannette:

if sleet mud thunder sweep ashore / and FOOTies, in tempests sway / or we’re attacked by a tyrannosaur / I’d still know we’d be ok / conjoined, in co-leader bliss / you’ll save me from any abyss / the denizen, of adrenaline / my bestie, Jeannette Penniman.

Solid, not spectacular. I've heard 4 years worth of poems, most written on the backs of index cards the morning of; some are absolutely amazing. I wish there was a FOOT poem database.

Last year, 349 days ago, I took an hour to write the above poem. There was a 5-step process. 

1. Break down co-leader's name into appropriate consonants and vowels.

Penniman Jeannette


2. Play with instant anagram machine and write a poem inspired by hilarious combinations.

Dear Jeannette,

Neater Jeep Tent.
That’s an anagram of our names, I meant.
Seriously though, you’re quite a coquette with the alphabet,
The 4 E’s and 5 N’s in your name aim to exclaim,
This woman is no normal dame!
She’s actually a denizen of adrenaline
My co-leader, Jeannette Penniman.

3. Scrap crappy first poem and jot notes about co-leader:

Green / no internet / farm life / warrior / badass / dried apples / year off / lives close by /

4. Attempt to freestyle a poem and fail miserably.

‘tis AT1, lofty peaks and valleys devouring / rain mud thunder in our wake / ah wait! I see it

5. Write better poem. (Above.)

Somebody, for the love of God, record the poetry gala this year when all the FOOTies arrive. Or at least keep the index cards.

* Note: Non-Yalies: FOOT = Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trip. Freshman arrive on campus before classes begin and go on week-long hike through the New England wilderness. I hiked in the Berkshires as a freshman; I led a trip on the Appalachian Trail.

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