“Three Cheers for Mr. Roget”

I would be a far worse poet without my trusty companions: The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young, published 1994, for ages 8 and up (and up! did the publishers ever dream it would be used by a 50-plus-year-old?); and The New American Roget’s College Thesaurus in Dictionary Form, revised 1985.

As you can see, I actually own two of the rhyming dictionaries and two of the thesauruses. (Thesauri is also correct, but it sounds too refined for humble paperbacks.) They’re handy reference guides, and you can’t get any handier that having one at your fingertips upstairs and another at your beck and call downstairs. (Click on the link and the eggcorn link within it for some fascinating reading.)

If I’m honest with myself, I don’t need doubles. I bought the second copies when the first began showing signs of wear. Not to panic or anything, but I really, really like these specific editions, and I wouldn’t want all the used copies to get bought up and leave me stranded for rhymes and synonyms. Several years back I did buy a large-print thesaurus–my eyesight, always bad, is steadily getting worse–but it was a bust. I hated the format. If, down the road, I have to crouch over the pages of my tried-and-true thesaurus with a magnifying glass, so be it. :)

Peace to your ♥ !

Three Cheers for Mr. Roget

Hip, hip, hooray for Mr. Roget
For creating the thesaurus for us.
Any writer who wants that perfect nuance,
Variation, modulation, shade, subtlety, nicety,
Fine point, distinction, suggestion, innuendo or hint
Has only to look in Roget’s treasure book—
Three cheers for him and his synonyms.

© Stephanie Malley

“Family Tree”

The (ad)venture begins. Actually it began a half-dozen years ago, when I churned out one poem after another over a two-week period. This was unusual.

I had written poems before: a parody of “The Raven” with a gym teacher nag, nag, nagging a student to get up for school; short verses for birthday cards; a group of five poems about trees (lyrical, narrative, apostrophe, and two other approaches I can’t recall). This was different.

I felt as though I was channeling the spirit of some tragically departed poet who needed to “get it all out” before resting in peace. It was a heady, harrowing time, and at the end of it I had a binder of poems that gave me great pleasure when I reread them. And reread them. And…. They were my babies, you know. I had a mother’s love for them.

While the outpouring of poetry didn’t last, the habit of putting my poems into binders did. I’ll be drawing from four binders’ worth in my posts as well as sharing newly-written poems. Nothing obscurely deep. Nothing overly serious. Lots of lighter verse and poems for the young and young at heart. Maybe a few will become a bit like family to you.

Peace to your !

Family Tree

I’ve always been a bit amazed
how one poem begets another.
I work on one and think I’m done,
then—whoops! here comes its brother.

Uncles, aunts, and in-laws,
First and second cousins,
I started off with just one poem—
Now I’ve written dozens!

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised
by this genealogy:
My poems have always felt a bit
like family to me.

© Stephanie Malley