Tuesday, 18 April 2017
poetry 2017 / 067
Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound. Probably the most famous example of a poem incorporating neologisms is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, but neologisms don’t have to be funny or used in the service of humor. You can use them to try to get at something that you don’t have an exact word for, or to create a sense of sound and rhythm, or simply to make the poem feel strange and unworldly.
The eighties were spent in art colleges,
garrets and studios. And public houses, obviously,
for what can one do but drink whilst talking about art?
It was a divided community; the Flesbians avoided
the Metalheads, the daubers avoided the figurmans
and the queers avoided the non-fluidians.
We got along, mostly, if you glossed over the backbiting
and the gender bending antics of guys
who were just there to pick up straight girls.
A dear friend had her top surgery in Bangkok
which made her a transcontinental. We fell out
before she took it further. Dramatoes, she called us,
though she was just upset because we took a lover
that wasn't her. Just upped and went.
We always knew she had balls.
Among the liberati and the pursuers of dreams
were the meatheads and the pencilscratchers,
the lifts descending to the pits of hell,
organoids and graphic design.
We avoided them, depraved Jasfoupians
in suits and ties, neat portfolios
and not a smear of Crimson across their flesh,
nor even our beloved Paynes.