11 Spencer Lane ♦ Annandale, NJ 08801 ♦ 908.832.7200

On Demand Poetry...on a typewriter

On Demand Poetry...on a typewriter

On Demand Poetry…on a typewriter

Summer Discovery English classes have been looking at the power of the written word. We read poetry written by Jaquline Suskin, a poet who performs Poem Store at a farmer's market in Arcata, California. She calls her technique, “a public project that consists of exchanging on-demand poetry about any subject, composed on a manual typewriter, in trade for any donation,” and she has become her town’s unofficial poet. Any attendee to the farmer’s market can ask Jaquline to write a poem about a topic of their choosing, then she will create an original poem, on the spot. HPS students read about how her poetry ultimately saved a large tract of old growth redwood forest that was slated for harvest by a timber company. The land is now open to the public.

Students then had an opportunity to try their hand at poetry on an electric typewriter. Excitement over the old technology was surprising and allowed creativity to flow. Here are  some of the poems that have been written so far.


I have this sudden craving for mashed potatoes

Their yellow, fluffy goodness

Warm, buttery, slightly salted

Every forkful fills my mouth and my brain with happiness

Potatoes are beautiful

They fly through the sky majestically with their white wings

Such graceful creatures of nature

Truly a masterpiece

A wonderful sight to behold, but even better when mashed and eaten

Someday I could become a 7-star chef

I could make myself thousands of mashed potatoes every minute

Using my expert cooking skills

Hundreds of potatoes, every second, to fill my life with

Joy and miracles

“What a time to be alive!” I would say, as I stuff my face with buttery mashed potatoes

What a time to be alive...



Poems Suck

There’s something about how the language flows

And the author’s entitlement

How they’re part of an elitist group

They think they’re superior

And want all to admire their work


When they’re done they expect praise above all other

And want commission for another

They put themselves on a pedestal

And look down upon the mundane writers

Who obviously have no mastery of words

While they are the only ones with mastery

And command of their tongue


The poems themselves are of no special value

Use too much imagery and attempt to stir nostalgia

I’m sorry dear author, your words do not move me

I cringe at your language meant to unnerve me


While I respect the mastery of your craft

I can't help but to think that you're really quite daft

While you try to be deep and spread a great message

all I can think is, “How simple is this passage?”


So I must ask you, dear author of mine

Do you write for posterity and think writing’s a crime?

Of course your poems are above all others

And you think that your literature surpasses the others




Guilt giver

Con man

Pressure point

Piss me off


Judgement and disappointment

Are ensconced in this word

Like the seed of a weed that will grow and take over everything

Pushing out what is supposed to be there for real


It makes me think I am wrong

Not enough


And to see myself saying it to others is a shock

But it's true

I do

I wield this word with power

Against family and friends and others

Like I know best


It carries criticism wherever it goes

And it knows

That the most heavy shroud it carries

Is the should I put on myself


I should stop saying should

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908.832.7200 ♦ Fax: 908.832.9772 ♦ 11 Spencer Lane ♦ Annandale, NJ 08801

HUNTERDON PREPARATORY SCHOOL IS A, not-for-profit, day school serving students between the ages of 12 and 21
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