Saturday, April 27, 2013

John Foster - Add a Letter, Find Another Word

Add a Letter, Find Another Word
(a word-finder's alphabet)
John Foster

When does the letter A create an opening?
When it turns jar into ajar.

Why is the letter B hot?
Because it turns oil into boil.

Why is the letter C skilful?
Because it turns raft into craft.

When is the letter D artistic?
When it turns raw into draw.

When is the letter E friendly?
When it turns mat into mate.

When does the letter F become airborne?
When it turns light into flight.

Why is the letter G deadly?
Because it turns rave into grave.

When does the letter H cry out?
When it turns owl into howl.

Why is the letter I angry?
Because it turns rate into irate.

When does the letter J sound harsh?
When it turns angle into jangle.

Why is the letter K good at tying?
Because it turns not into knot.

Why is the letter L good at making chains?
Because it turns inks into links.

Why is letter M good at multiplying?
Because it turns any into many.

Why is the letter N good at subtracting?
Because it turns one into none.

Why is the letter O good at providing access?
Because it turns pen into open.

Why is the letter P polite?
Because it turns lease into please.

Why is the letter Q quite sickening?
Because it helps to turn easy into queasy.

When is the letter R careless?
When it turns ash into rash.

Why is the letter S good at digging?
Because it turns hovel into shovel.

When does the letter T make a down-and –out?
When it turns ramp into tramp.

When does the letter U create a custom?
When it turns sage into usage.

Why is the letter V wicked?
Because it turns ice into vice.

When does the letter W create a turnaround?
When it turns heel into wheel.

When does the letter X reveal the inside story?
When it turns ray into X-ray.

When does the letter Y create longing?
When it turns earn into yearn.

Why is the letter Z bizarre?
Because it turns any into zany.

©John Foster. All rights reserved.

Dear editors who read GottaBook - would you please contact John Foster and inquire about turning the above poem into a picture book? It is very, very clever and even I, the non-visual guy, can see wonderful illustration potential. Thank you.

Word play is a recurring joy in John Foster's poetry, as is what I'd best describe as "smarts." (Note: I was going to make some reference to a letter S and turning marts into smarts, but geez... it's hard to do what he has done up above in a coherent way!). Head on out to read a couple poems at his site and while you're there, listen to him reading/performing a few poems, too. If you choose to attempt your own performance of Sean Short's Short Shorts, don't blame me if you have to ice your tongue after....

Besides being a wordsmith in his own right, John Foster also puts together fantastic anthologies, an art in and of itself. This means y'all have a lot of options when you leave this post... but in the meantime, I hope you share my happiness at having him here today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday, G. Neri brought us the June Bug Bash. Tomorrow... Lesléa Newman with Teen Angels. For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


Tabatha said...

So clever! You're right, Greg-- it would make a great picture book!

Unknown said...

You know you're reading something good when it makes you wonder "how come no one did this before!?" That's the sign of a great idea. I love the way it's teaching without preaching - much like a good ol' rollicking rhyme does. Which, of course, Mr Foster is a dab hand at too. Check out Cockadoodle Moo, a favourite in my house.

Linda B said...

Terrific, & makes me wonder, like Stephen, how it's never happened before. I'd love to have it as a picture book, but also see that it would be wonderful to see what kids do with it as a mentor poem. Thanks, Greg!

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

I think I need to print this out and have it with me the next time I play Scrabble!
Very fun! - Thanks John, and thanks, Greg!

Bob Schechter said...

Fun stuff indeed.

I don't know of a children's book that has done this either. The nearest kind of wordplay I can think of would be something like Richard Wilbur's "Pig in the Spigot" book. But for grownups, centuries ago George Herbert built poems with rhyming tercets ending in word triplets like CHARM, HARM, ARM. See .

I enjoyed this.

Charles Waters said...

No fooling this may be my favorite poem so far in this year's 30/30 (or it's in the top 2). So creative. Wow!

tanita✿davis said...

Ooh, this is one of those definite classroom poems. And I second that picture book idea.

Gloson Teh said...

This is a spectacular idea. :D