A Poetry Sweatshop Complaint
This poem was originally written at a Poetry Sweatshop competition in Calgary, Alberta, in 1987. These competitions are kind of like a poet's rodeo, where you show your skill in a timed environment. They are not meant as any kind of "literary statement," but are just good fun. A page is ripped out of a thesaurus, and you have 30 minutes to write a poem based on anything on the page. I'd done well with this before (always winning -- there would be three equal winners out of 12 competitors), but found myself stuck with a bare, dry, white page from a new thesaurus -- a dictionary thesaurus. The first two stanzas are words from the sides of that page. I was incensed, I was enraged, I ranted, and I won yet again. Next Sweatshop, they had a real thesaurus. I have since revised it a bit (the earlier, ranting part was much longer), leaving more of the panegyric to Roget. This poem was read, twice, at the competition, and received a small prize, but has not been published elsewhere.
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