During one class session of Intro to Writing about Literature, students discussed the rime royal stanzaic form of Troilus & Criseyde. Students examined particular stanzas and investigated the various ways in which Chaucer exploits the form. Spontaneously, one student proposed that the class should collectively write a narrative poem in rime royal. The rest of the class seconded the motion, and students quickly settled on a theme (buying a sandwich at a New York City bodega). Students assigned themselves portions of their story, and each student wrote their portion for homework.
This exercise allowed students to play with Chaucer’s stanzaic structure. Some students even dexterously exploited the rhyme pattern’s ability to neatly arc, dramatically pause, and aphoristically conclude. (They showed, in effect, that they had internalized the class discussion about Chaucer’s use of the form.) Other students generated ingenuous rhymes (e.g. La Mega/Bodega; Hamlet/wallet). The poem took its title from one student’s surreal phrase, “My Future Milkshake.”
My Future Milkshake Intro to Writing about Literature (Spring 2014) As I walked outside my house I noticed an intoxicating smell lurking me in I felt more awake and ran with my blouse To be this hungry should be a sin I heard my stomach singing a hymn While walking there I heard the speakers blast La Mega I had finally arrived at the Bodega. —Sahib Singh I make my way to the sandwich maker hunger is guiding my every stride My stomach growls as my energy wavers until I make it out of here alive, Perhaps I will, cause there is no line I have the cook’s attention and make my plea Could you make a sandwich for me —Alaska Santelices Glancing upon the great pile of food But then a smell that seems as if sent from hell Besides this the rest of the food looks good Pickles should not have a store that should sell “Don’t add those green monsters to my sandwich” I tell Let me say what I really want This sandwich is what I will flaunt. —Vedha Toscano my eye gazed upon the cold glass fixture I knew what I needed to eat today I craved beef in my mind, I saw the picture the roasted sort, rye bread, as take away I pass the glass yet my eye goes astray Is this right? May I need a second thought I should reconsider before my buy is bought —Robert Garin For I thought that I knew But, now I must recall I know better and in fact I don’t want that sandwich but, something that will sate me and this hunger getter Yes I will tell him now and write a letter Now to think what can make this hunger settle If I can’t concentrate with steaming settle —Stephanie Cabrera I am really hungry this is all the time But I want a sandwich I want it to be mine with some lettuce maybe some cheese please hold the mayo it makes me queeze on some wheat bread maybe some rye but now I’m starving and that’s not a lie —Natalie Muñoz He blinked and stared up at me with gorgeous deep blue eyes that resembled the endless sea It sent my heart into a rise and made me ache with unwanted goodbyes I smiled dreamily and fled with all the words I haven’t said —Karishma Deonarain Karishma is staring at the cashier While I’m looking at my future milkshake She holds up the line, while I am in fear of losing my chance at my favorite shake I tell her to hurry and stop being fake From my yell I get slapped in the process I’ll never do it again, no shake, no success —Benedict Acunin OH, wait a minute with that sandwich, I apologize that I forgot my wallet. My mind made me leave it right next to the power switch. It was the dog’s problem that I was reading Hamlet. The construction man has to fix the toilet. Please, can you let me have my mood. I’m really hungry for my food. —Jian Cong Liao I suddenly remember my new diet, Which tells me not to eat a bit of bread. But, sandwich ordered, my duty’s now to buy it; My hunger reconciles with my head. Plus, by the sweet cashier my heart is fed. I can forgive myself this one brief cheat Since it allows my soul its favorite treat! —Hilary Marking the delicious sandwich I so desire I listen to the roast beef calling my name yet the sandwich I cannot acquire my puppy’s eyes tell me I’m so lame the anger arises in me, you’re worth the same. I cry out to the cashier, let us trade I finally reward my heart with a parade. —Christine (Sung Eun) Sul And with the delicious sandwich in hand I took the change and turned to take my leave. Walking away from that amazing stand, the sandwich’s smell I had started to heave. I took a bite, hoping the taste to please. And when the juices started to trickle I realized the sandwich still had pickles. —Kevin Heatherly