Saturday, April 4, 2015


Gertrude Stein Literary Poster Print

Izy at Real Toads has issued us a challenge to write a poem in the style of Gertrude Stein's startling excerpts from Tender Buttons which is like jumbled stream of consciousness in an altered state. I had not read Stein's poetry before - unbelievably - and so I read the excerpt with astonishment and delight, then hit the Altered State button on the side of my head and wrote down whatever fell out. The first thing was an old joke from high school which seemed to fit. I intend no disrespect to the brilliant Stein, I just enjoyed the freedom of plucking words from the air and seeing what happened.

I have not read the other responses, as I wanted to be influenced only by Stein's work. So I have no idea if I am anywhere near fulfilling the prompt.  I enjoyed the outside the boxness, and admire her pushing back the boundaries very much. Especially back in the early 1900's. Wow.

what is the difference between a duck?
one of its feet is both the same.
what is the willow
the wind whispers    why?
it is to tell it is to breathe
but not like in a closet, frightened
a mouse-squeak of bravery
is what it takes
to live
to live is not and sometimes curious
the little pins along the bottom of a wall
a dream has no prompter in the wings
and the stage is empty
why is the grandfather clock 
standing on its head?

a poet a wordweaver a stardreamer
can dig in all the words words words
and uncover

I must say this was fun!!!!!!!  And now it is Day Four. I have now read the other responses to this prompt and they are, without exception, STUNNING! Do check them out.


  1. This is remarkable Sherry! :D
    I m impressed!

  2. It was fun, wasn't it? words words words
    I like how they sit there unperturbed and loose.

  3. what is the willow
    the wind whispers why?
    it is to tell it is to breathe

    I am struck by the way you have worked the phrases around your theme, Sherry. I think this is an amazing piece of poetry. I love it!

  4. I cannot even believe you have not read Gertrude Stein before. How can that be? I say you must run off and read some more! Sweet, sweet sweet tea, sweet tea, Susie Asado!
    Your poem is remarkable, fantastical, but grounded just enough. I am seriously impressed. This also has a little ee cummings in it, at least for me. LOVE!

  5. Oh Sherry, this is priceless ~ every word.
    ' a dream has no prompter in the wings
    and the stage is empty ' my favorite lines!!

  6. This prompt totally defeated me Sherry, but I think you did really well with it. I especially love your joke at the opening.

  7. Wow!!! this is what happens when you "hit the Altered State button" on the side of you head you are just awesome just;

    have a creative month

    much love...

  8. Loved this from the word duck! And I'm really not a fan of this type of poetry (it gives me a headache most of the time), but this I loved! Da capo, da capo!

  9. One fun thing is to direct her work for the stage as monologue or dialogue. I can imagine this, two elderly friends and a window. Love.

  10. LOVE it Sherry. You rocked it.

  11. Well, this gives me something to think about!

  12. It was fun to read, too, Sherry. I might try doing this sometime. Did you filter a little? Were you afraid of being committed?
    The answer (mine) to your line, "the little pins along the bottom of a wall" is that at one time there was an extension or TV cable fastened by the pins to keep the old people and the little kids from tripping on the wires.

  13. Oh, I so love this one! I want to eat it up, breathe it in ... you really found the right approach, inspired.

  14. This is delightful, Sherry! Well done!

  15. Really well done, Sherry--your delight in Stein really shows in your own words--just wonderful. Thanks. k. (Manicddaily)

  16. Oh how fun Sherry. I am so glad I was able to bring you to Stein. Your approach to reading and responding to her is exactly my own. I loved this piece so had me at duck!

  17. Love that opening, You had such fun with the challenge. I seem to be stuck in a pain cycle. Life isn't letting up.

  18. Love that opening, You had such fun with the challenge. I seem to be stuck in a pain cycle. Life isn't letting up.

  19. Sherry!! This voice on you is wonderful and I love your, love, love it!! ♥

  20. Oh those last lines are precious. That's what's in your subconscious. It's playful and it doesn't lie. Glad you had fun with this.

  21. Loved this piece, I plan to study more of Stein this year!

    Great job!

  22. Am posting Amy's comment, since Wordpress wont let her post to blogger.......thank you, my friend!

    Sherry, this was whimsical and quite deep! You are obviously a fan, as am I. I, too, hit that "Alt" button when I read it, and it was 3 am, I could not sleep, and isn't that the perfect time to read her? So what better time to write in her style? Yes, the "mouse-squeak of bravery" IS what it takes, and you make it sound as though the person standing in the cage probably has lots to say, but keeps it hidden; whereas; the person who lives "outside" needs that one squeak and makes the most of it. Better to speak that to squelch, huh? BRILL! Amy


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!