Academic journal article Language Arts

Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems

Academic journal article Language Arts

Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems

Article excerpt

Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems Written by Brian P. Cleary Illustrated by Andy Rowland Millbrook, 2014, 32 pp., ISBN 978-1- 4677- 2045- 8

In this accessible introduction to concrete poetry, Cleary concisely lays out the basics of this word-art form, noting that concrete poems need not rhyme (though those in this collection generally do), and invites readers to become authors themselves. Bright cartoon illustrations extend the hand-lettered, colorful text charmingly. For "Ode to a Commode," children snorkel, boogie board, and kayak on the edges of the swirling blue water of words. In "Going Up," three characters clamor to stop a fourth from being lifted aloftby balloon words "full of helium, floating up to reach the ceili-um" (p. 13). While the title seems to promise a delightfully disgusting collection, only the title poem deals with the disappearance of toilet water "with everything in it" (p. 6). As a whole, the book offers an engaging variation in tenor. "The Boa Constrictor"-green words forming a variegated slithering serpent, including a bump for a recently eaten meal-describes things boas actually eat, along with images of frightened children leaping away as the snake hisses "I'm late for lunch" (p. …

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