I first fell in love with poetry in a poetry class I took my Sophomore year of high school. One of the exercises my teacher would often have the class do is called “Poem from Scratch.” He would come in with a big crate of poetry books and prompt us to pick one each. Once we each had a book, we had 10-15 minutes to read and search through the poems until we found a word we especially liked. Then we would come back together as a class and write each of our words on the board. We would end up with a little over 20 words, which makes for a long poem in retrospect, but I loved the challenge. What we then had to do, once we’d written down the words, was attempt to fit all of them into some poem in some kind of coherent way. We could alter the tense, gender, or meaning of the word however we see fit for our poem. I absolutely loved it.
Since that class, I’ve been trying to find a way to do a “Poem from Scratch” on a smaller scale, or even by myself. So far, I had been unsuccessful. That is until I came across an article posted on LinkedIn by Macmillan Learning. The article by Andrea Lundsford, titled “2018 Word of the Year” basically detailed what some of the major dictionary databases on the internet had proclaimed as the “2018 Word of the Year.” Most of the dictionaries based their results on their most searched
I decided immediately that I would use this article to write a “Poem from Scratch.” I took ten words, the words indicated either by each dictionary’s proclamation or the article’s author as stand out words in the rhetoric of each database’s explanation. In the end, I came up with ten words:
My poem was inspired by the explanation of the first word, that it was primarily derived as the “2018 Word of the Year” by Merriam-Webster because of the sheer magnitude with which people searched it during the Kavanaugh trials.
Without further ado, my “Poem from Scratch,” entitled “2018”:
I am not laughing anymore.
This unprecedented misinformation
Spreading like some disease,
Some backward, cat-scratch, toxic non-justice
Has spread its poison long enough.
No more nomophobia.
No more amnesia
To turn our selfish cheeks
And icy, hateful backs away.
We are indebted to the deficit.
Let’s act like it.
No more silence.
We speak up when we are spoken to.
We scream when we are not.