Poetry topic idea: buying a used car

Today’s poetry topic idea is buying a used car.  A poet could write about:

  • The overall car buying experience.
  •  

  • Researching cars.
  •  

  • Car salespeople.
  •  

  • Lemon cars.
  •  

  • The difficulty in comparing used cars.
  •  

  • The time it takes to buy a used car.
  •  

  • The perception of used cars.
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  • The perception of different kinds of cars.
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  • What goes into the car buying decision.

Here is an example poem using the idea of buying a used car:

Apples and oranges
apples and oranges

Year
Make
Model
Miles
Type
Condition

Apples and oranges
apples and oranges

One is better
one is worse
one is different

How to compare?

Apples and oranges
apples and oranges

Experimental Poetry Form: apples and oranges

Today’s experimental poetry form is called apples and oranges.  The idea is to play off of the expressions of comparing apples and oranges.

The form has two stanzas: the apples stanza and the oranges stanza.  The stanzas are different from each other to illustrate the idea of the differences in the fruit, and thereby illustrate the idea of the difference expressed in the saying.

The apples stanza is aligned to the left and the oranges stanza is aligned to the right.  They are on the same level horizontally.  This expresses the idea that the two things are on opposite sides of each other.

The apples stanza is written in red letters and the oranges stanza is written in orange letters.  This reflects the fruit.

The apples stanza has six lines and the oranges stanza has seven lines.  This is from the number of letters in the fruit names.

In the apples stanza, lines 2, 3, 4, and 6 rhyme.  These represent the consonants in the word apples.  In the oranges stanza, lines 1, 3, and 6 rhyme.  This represents the vowels in the word oranges.

Both stanzas are written in trochaic meter because both apple and orange are trochaic words.

The apples stanza has two metrical feet per line because apples has two syllables.  The oranges stanza has three metrical feet per line because oranges has three syllables.

Below is what the form looks like. The / represent stressed syllables, and the * represent unstressed syllables. The Rs mark the rhyming lines of each stanza. Each pair of /* represents a metrical foot.

/* /*                                                                                        /* /* /*R
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*R
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*
/* /*                                                                                        /* /* /*
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*R
                                                                                                /* /* /*

Poem with an explanation: Summer Winter

as the sunlight stings
and heat engulfs and cooks air
the forest pitch grows

as the gray light floats
and cold surrounds and cools air
the forest sound stills

This poem is comprised of two haiku.  They both describe first moments of walking outside: the first in summer and the second in winter.  Both poems follow the same pattern:

as the AAA light BBB
and CCC DDD and EEE air
the forest FFF GGG

Each of the words (or in one case, partial word) represented by three letters, in some way match: AAA (sun/gray), BBB (stings/floats), CCC (heat/cold), DDD (engulfs/surrounds), EEE (cooks/cools), FFF (pitch/sound), GGG (grows/stills).  In the cases of AAA, BBB, CCC, EEE, and GGG, the words (or in the case of AAA one partial word and one word) contrast, while still having a sense of matching.

The idea behind the poem was to describe two contrasting moments using similar patterns so that the contrast could be highlighted.