Dr. Alphabet

April 24, 1995|By ANDREI CODRESCU

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans. -- Just published: ''The Adventures of Dr. Alphabet,'' by Dave Morice! The book is subtitled ''104 Unusual Ways to Write Poetry in the Classroom and the Community.'' It is my belief that if Dr. Alphabet's recipes were followed, many of our nation's problems would be solved.

Take, for instance, ''the blindfold poem.''

In 1977, Dr. Alphabet wrote blindfolded for 10 hours at an art festival in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He became, he tells us, ''more aware of sounds, smells and conversations.'' Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a national ''writing blindfolded'' day? Nobody would be using their computer consoles, just their noses, their ears and their fingers.

Another of Doctor's ideas is ''the poetry shirt,'' where you write on your shirt or your friend's shirts. This is not like buying a pre-printed shirt with words from the factory: This is your very own poetry on your very own shirt. Nobody can get you like they are trying to get Pamela O'Leary in Michigan for her license plate that says ''4RU486,'' which is the name of the French abortion drug. In that case, the state gave her the license and now the state wants it back. On your property shirt you give yourself license and nobody, if I'm not mistaken, can take the shirt off your back -- except for the IRS, of course.

Dr. Alphabet also recommends making a Rolodex poem. Every day you write different lines of poetry on the cards in your Rolodex. In about a year you have a lot of poems you can flip through when you want to read something. Isn't that a whole lot better than flipping through your Rolodex like you do now and finding only the depressing names of ex-friends, failed business partners and people you don't remember at all?

I can't list here all of Dr. Alphabet's ideas, but here are a few, quickly: Spider-web of Words, Poetry Wooden Nickels, Verse Tubes, Letter Galaxy, Cartoon Cards. The best part is you don't have to be a kid to play. Change your life with Dr. Alphabet.

Andrei Codrescu is editor of ''Exquisite Corpse,'' and a former world poetry champion.

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