Joanna Thomas

Joanna Thomas writes uncommon books, and this one, bluebird (bloo-burd), is no exception. What great fun to find it this week in my mail.

As explained at the website for Milk & Cake Press, blue-bird (bloo•burd) employs the lipogram, a poetic constraint which requires that a poet not use a certain letter of the alphabet. Using words starting with “B” as the title of each poem, the poems themselves, written as lyrical, lovely dictionary entries, exclude it.

Joanna invited me to write a blurb for her book, and, not understanding that b’s were banned, this is what I wrote — or a fragment of it (I seem to recall going into rhapsodic excess):

bes·ti·ar·y (bes-chi-er-ee) adj. 1. a blast of burgeoning delights. 2. an imaginarium containing bluebirds, hawks, magpies, unicorns, and wing nuts with actual wings. 3. pages that light up like whirligigs.

But you really have to see it for yourself to believe it. So, a sample poem, the first in this delightful collection:


baf·fle (bafēl)

n. 1. something that aids the eye in aiming. 2. a plethora of afterthoughts; or, a finger pointing at the moon. 3. a final lap, when used as a hassock or a pillow:  Confusion rested its weary tangle upon the tongue’s baffle. 4. the knowing of warp from weft; this from that; come from go; soup from nuts. 5. a fat girl in fishnets. 6. the sound of lips smacking sweet. 7. anaphora, spewed from full lungs; also, thunder, when it’s stolen

Need I add, this begs to be a writing prompt? For more ideas see my blogpost about her book, Rabbit, an erasure poem, or visit her uncommon blog:

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