Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tabloid Top Ten: April 2006

wwnsmartestape.gifSerendipitously I ordered several poetry books last month from the library to work some poetic prompts in beginning in April. Turns out April is National Poetry Month and I didn't know it.

Try your hand at "tabloid poetry". Some suggestions are:
  1. Look for headlines that have a theme: space aliens, Elvis, animals, etc. (If you need more headlines than the 10 in the April list down below, check at The City Newsstand where they go back to 1998.)

    Print out your favorites, cut them up and shuffle them around into groups that seem to go together. Try grouping them in 3s and then write a 4th line that comments or expands on the 3 previous. If you're using just this month's headlines, create 3 groups of 3 lines, add a 4th line to each group then, if you can, use the 10th headline as part of a two line summary.

    It doesn't need to rhyme!

    Don't be afraid to change the titles a bit to make them flow better.
  2. Take some of the shorter lines and turn them into rhyming couplets:

    "Elvis Sighted in Wax Museum" could turn into:
    Just as I visited his mausoleum
    Elvis was sighted in a wax museum.
    That was inspired (as well as dictated) by RhymeZone's revelation that there were very few words that rhyme with museum!

    Don't be afraid to throw in some extra words or take some out in order to give it a better or different rhythm.

    "Shaquille O'Neal's Parents Are Pygmies" actually has sort of the rhythm of a limerick if I'm getting my stress syllables right:
    Shaquille O'Neal's Parents were Pygmies.
    They stuffed their small son with big berries.
    He grew really tall,
    While they remained small.
    Now Shaq's parents are as tall as his pinkies.
    Not bad! There's something off in the rhythm of the second line so it could use some work. (And according to RhymeZone pygmies doesn't have any "perfect rhymes", that is, nothing rhymes with "mies" only with "ies".)
APRIL
  1. NUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CHAPEL — WWN
  2. LAWYER SHEDS HIS SKIN — THREE TIMES A YEAR! — WWN
  3. SLEEP EXPERT CAN DESCRIBE A PERSON PERFECTLY JUST BY HEARING THEM SNORE! — WWN
  4. ALIENS TRAVEL TO EARTH FOR CHINESE TAKEOUT! — WWN
  5. BIOLOGIST BREEDS SNAIL WITH CHEETAH TO CREATE WORLD'S FASTEST SNAIL — THE 'SNEETAH'! — WWN
  6. GOOD OLD BOY TRANSLATES BIBLE INTO REDNECK — so us'n can understan' what the Good Lord wanted us to lern! — WWN
  7. IT'S TRUE — AUTOPSY PROVES IT! ADOLF HITLER WAS A WOMAN! — WWN
  8. Hail to the wackos: HALF OF U.S. PRESIDENTS WERE MENTALLY ILL — SUN
  9. HUMANS TURNING BACK INTO APES! Sports fanatics & politicians most susceptible! — WWN
  10. PROM KING AND QUEEN SEEK U.N. RECOGNITION OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY...PROMVANIA! — WWN
There are some more ideas by Bruce Lansky at his website Gigglepoetry.

Above all have fun while you play with words!

(The list of top 10 tabloid headlines was, as usual, compiled by The City Newsstand, a newsstand in Chicago. (The lists there go back to Jan 1998.) (It says they're mostly from Weekly World News (WWN) and the SUN.)
Post a Comment