Grasshopper Reality TV with the Poetry Princesses [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Month!

Last month, we Poetry 7 shared our sedokas. This month, we’re back to ekphrastic art. I decided not to worry about being totally uncouth when it comes to art this time. Plus, I got to choose the art (that does help:>) I took two pictures at the University of St. Thomas when I spoke at the fabulous Hubbs Children’s Literature Conference there in February.

ceiling in Terrence Murphy Hall. The art is by Mark Balma (


ceiling in Terrence Murphy Hall. The art is by Mark Balma (

These are 2 parts of a 7‑part ceiling fresco in Terrence Murphy Hall at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. I love these huge, colorful frescoes.

grasshopper detailThe art is by Mark Balma and is called The Seven Virtues (it’s a Catholic university). Aren’t their colors, surrealness (surreality?), and fairy tale oddness wonderful?

This grasshopper watching TV captured my fancy. What on earth do grasshoppers watch on TV? That inspired this etheree, a poem of syllable counts growing from 1 to 10. I decided to skewer reality TV, even though I’m a fan of cooking reality shows, So You Think You Can Dance, and Survivor. I had to abandon Amazing Race this year. Annoying YouTube stars? No, thank you. Anyway…

Channel-Hopping Through Reality Grasshopper TV

What’s on?
Pimp My Stride
Kate Plus 80
Survivor: Cornfield
So You Think You Can Hop
Real Housewives of Alfalfa
Keeping Up With the Katydids
The Bachelor (Sap TV’s universal)
Sigh…silence, songs! World, begone! I’m…busy?

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

Now, don’t miss the wonderful offerings of my friends and poets!  One of the really fun things about writing poetry with them every month is seeing how varied our approaches are each month–and, yet, how consistent our individual voices tend to be over time.

Sara (Free verse, birds, and being temperate–or not!)
Kelly (Punny and thoughtful poem for the birds)
Liz (Villanelle, animals, welcome or not)
Tanita (Spring, acrostic, rhyme, and meter)
Tricia (Baseball and hope in free verse)
Andi (Sedoka inspired by the grasshopper)

And here are the previous Poetry Sisters collaborations:

March 2016 Sedoka
February 2016 Poem Inspired by a Picasso Sculpture (ugh)
January 2016 Crown sonnet (on the periodic table)
November 2015 Ekphrastic poems
October 2015 Etherees
September 2015 Found poems
August 2015 Classified haiku
July 2015 Inspired by e.e. cummings’ poems
Jun 2015 Odes
May 2015 Pantoums
Apr 2015 Raccontinos
Mar 2015 Sestinas (Lord have mercy)
Feb 2015 Villanelles on hidden things
Jan 2015 Triolets on beginnings (And I posted an extra one here.)
Pre-2015 Villanelles, a crown sonnet, rondeau redoubles, and pantoums

And lovely poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is kicking off Poetry Month with the Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!



23 Responses

  1. The more I think about Survivor: Cornfield, the more I get creeped out…

    Your poem is so funny, Laura, and tightly focused, and clever. I’m glad you put yourself in that grasshopper’s bored shoes…or legs…or whatever…

    1. Thanks, Amy–I had fun taking myself (and the art) much less seriously this time around!

  2. I think I want to write a book about Keeping Up With the Katydids. It sounds like a fabulous middle grade novel about a girl grasshopper and her buddies…

    Kate Plus Eighty, though, still makes me laugh out loud. “Does Kate recognize any of her children… ever??? Tune in next week!”

    1. Heehee–DO it! I’ve never seen Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but…I’m guilty of plenty of competition reality shows:>)

  3. Love it. You are so witty and creative with your TV show titles, and it really does echo that Springsteen song “57 channels (and nothin’ on)”

  4. Intriguing art, Laura — I like your response to it! I wonder if the grasshopper is actually representing one of the 7 Deadly Sins, since they are often shown in opposition to the 7 Virtues? He certainly appears to be an expert at “Sloth”.

  5. Thanks for the laugh, Laura! Your poem helped relieve some of my creeped-out-edness!

  6. I want to watch “Survivor: Cornfield.” When is it on… or does it just hit the insect channels? (Clever–and I love to read the variations on a common image that you and your writing buddies compose.)

    1. Fabulous! Will visit shortly–and we LOVE when people jump in and take on the challenge, too!

        1. YES! I used to explicitly invite people to try the form or topic or prompt to write their own poems, but hardly anyone ever did, so I let that die out. You did that in just the right way:>)

          1. I get occasional haiku when I put out a prompt, but few people who don’t write regularly are willing to take on the longer forms. I’m glad you didn’t mind my joining in, the words just spilled out when I read the last PF entry of you Poetry Princesses. 🙂 It was fun.

  7. Laura, this poem is so clever and funny! You did a wonderful job fitting that grasshopper into reality TV, and expressing the bored restlessness of too much of it. I salute you! Also, you chose such stunning, amazing art for our focus. Thank you for sharing those frescoes. I am still in awe of them.

    1. Thanks, Andi–I’m so glad you were able to join in–we do miss you when you’re not here. And I’m happy that you like the frescoes!

  8. I’m so glad you said etheree in your introduction. I was wondering when I read the draft. I know you weren’t thrilled about this, but you’ve parodied these shows so cleverly and connected it nicely back to the art. I love this.

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