Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer: Lemonade; Winter: Hot Chocolate

I love word games.  Scrabble, Boggle, Bananagrams - I love 'em, one and all.  And, sometimes, when I am bored, I play the "make little words out of a big word" game, a kind of word game solitaire.  Lately, my daughter has been asked to do the same as part of her homework.  She finds it pretty difficult even though the teacher sends home large-print versions of each letter to be cut out, so that the children can physically move them around (like Scrabble or Bananagrams tiles) to make words.  I'm at a loss for how to help her because when I look at, say, "encyclopedia," one of her assigned words, I immediately see zillions of possibilities: cycle, lope, cope, plaid, pedal, lance, clap...

There is a new book of poetry out, Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed From a Single Word, (I love, love, LOVE the title!) which creates poems by playing exactly this game.  Rule-abiding as I am, however, I  must point out that poet Bob Raczka cheats, at least given the way I play - he uses letters which appear only once in the "big" word more than once in the little words he creates.  In my version, that is strictly prohibited!

Nonetheless, this is a fabulous book.  Each poem is printed in twice in a typewriter-style font, once, on the right-hand side, with the letters placed directly under their placement in the "mother" word and once, after the page turn on the left-hand side, with normal spacing.  This format lets the reader to try to decipher the poem first without seeing the "answer" on the facing page.  As other commenters have written, the poems rise above their gimmicky premise.  I can't pick a single favorite but, one is surely:



providing a nice wintry beverage counterpoint to the lemonade of the title.  Here in New York, though, it is definitely lemonade weather, the calendar notwithstanding.

What is your favorite word game?

1 comment:

  1. sort of like a a haiku, in that its a short poem written within constraints