.the poets of…Yelp?. {NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 29}

 yelpers are poets
who would have even known it
yes now i’m hungry


Day 29 brings us two new prompts from NaPoWriMo and Writer’s Digest and they couldn’t have been any more perfect for each other! They are to write a review of someone or something in poem form and the other is to write a what nobody knows poem. One thing most people don’t know about me is that I’m a compulsive researcher  (I wish I realized this earlier on in life because I surely missed my calling) and I came across the wonderful world of the poetry of Yelp in trying to get some information compiled for today’s entry.

Yes, you read that right, Yelp. Apparently, it’s a treasure trove of poetry and prose brought on by the great and not so great dining experiences and all around patronage of establishments. There are haiku written about lunch, full on comic strips constructed of symbols and font, odes to McDonald’s. You name it and you just might find it.

Camilla Vasquez, a linguistics professor who studies consumer reviews, says, “For people whose jobs don’t give them a platform for self-expression, Yelp is often treated as a creative outlet,”and “Yelp reviewers often feel a sense of ownership over their work. They enjoy the feeling that they are an author, that their voice matters and that they are being clever in their style.”

These reviewers are regular people with regular jobs and lives that find a way of expressing themselves in interesting, funny, and cool ways. Yelp has that ask of those that are writing reviews on the site and on the app. A prime example of the creativity of these folks is David Garcia, who is  Yelper with a loyal following that prefers the quality of his reviews to the quantity of his more prolific fellow Yelpers. An example of what I mean is that he develops plots and builds characters and takes his time with them. One review is of a shop local to him that he reviewed: “Garcia writes a story about two people who stare into the moon and speak out an ancient incantation to summon a powerful but nefarious cheese-loving villain. By tempting the villain with scrumptious cheese from Cheese Plus, the two heroes are able to kill the evil cheese-lover and end the day with a well-deserved cheese sandwich.”
-Elizabeth Segran Fast Company

Farzan K. used punctuation marks to create a cartoon strip about an unfortunate experience at McDonald’s:

click image to view in site


Haiku F. writes all his reviews in verse, such as this one for the Brooklyn restaurant Olea:

Read more here.

Somewhat of a side note, but not really:

My wife suggested we try a new ice cream (to us) from Steve’s Ice Cream. This particular one is made with organic coconut cream and is dairy free. It is delicious! I figured I’d get my feet wet with a poetic review in haiku form:

Displaying IMG_7747.JPG

there in brooklyn
the fine art of mixing cream
on a new level

 I’ve decided to sign up for Yelp and see what may be going in my area in the way of poetic reviews and possibly contribute some art to my local Yelp reviews. If you haven’t already, I suggest you get signed up and give it a try. If nothing else, it’ll be a great creative outlet for you. 

Aracelis Girmay

Born and raised in Santa Ana, California, poet Aracelis Girmay earned a BA at Connecticut College and an MFA from New York University. Her poems trace the connections of transformation and loss across cities and bodies.

In her 2011 online chat interview with the Rumpus Poetry Book Club, Girmay discussed innovative and hybrid poetric forms, stating, “I wonder what new explorations of form might have to do with documenting the new and old ways of thinking about power. Of how we’ve been taught to think by our families, institutions, television, computer culture, etc. [….] Perhaps the so-called hybrid poems are about dislocating or splintering the central lens.”

Her poetry collections include Teeth (2007) and Kingdom Animalia (2011). She is also the author of the collage-based picture book changing, changing (2005).

In 2011 Girmay was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Cave Canem Fellow and an Acentos board member, she led youth and community writing workshops. She currently teaches at Hampshire College. She lives in New York City.

Read more here.




What to do with this knowledge
that our living is not guaranteed?

Perhaps one day you touch the young branch
of something beautiful. & it grows & grows
despite your birthdays & the death certificate,
& it one day shades the heads of something beautiful
or makes itself useful to the nest. Walk out
of your house, then, believing in this.
Nothing else matters.
All above us is the touching
of strangers & parrots,
some of them human,
some of them not human.
Listen to me. I am telling you
a true thing. This is the only kingdom.
The kingdom of touching;
the touches of the disappearing, things.

Aracelis Girmay, “Elegy” from Kingdom Animalia. Copyright © 2011 by Aracelis Girmay.  Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.  http://www.boaeditions.org


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