July 10, 2014

Poetry Friday--"Tall Tales"

A few weeks back, Jama Rattigan's Friday Feast featured the book of poetry, Anna’s Garden Songs by Mary Q. Steele, with illustrations by Lena Anderson. Jama wrote, "I may as well confess right now that I’ve always had a thing for giant vegetables..."

When I read Jama's confession, I wondered if she was familiar with the Wisconsin Historical Society's collection of "tall-tale" postcards. I left a comment with the link and then spent a little time revisiting the "exaggeration" postcards.

When I finished, I had a poem already bubbling. I wrote it and then went looking for something to illustrate it. As much as I love Wisconsin Historical Society's website and their easily accessible photo collection, I knew that they charged for permissions. (I thought I might like to use some of their homefront photos for Kids of the Homefront Army, but changed my mind when I discovered their terms.) So, I once again turned to ebay. I quickly found a "buy it now" option for a tall-tale postcard that appeared to be in good condition. I purchased it for $5.49, which included shipping! I now have an illustration and a postcard to add to my stack of paper ephemera (something that will either delight, or cause my kids to curse me when I'm gone).

Sorry, Jama, this postcard doesn't feature a vegetable! This one is in the tradition of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe!

Tall Tales

When photography
arrived, this magic
medium lent itself
to tale manipulation.

Tellers had photographic
evidence to back up
their stories, but, were
clumsy in their efforts.

Now comes advanced
photo editing software
and it is imperative we put
a finger in all wounds.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The postcard is not from the golden age of postcards, which ran 1898-1918. It's a later vintage, but I think it's well-done, and definitely could fool a naive viewer!

We're lucky to be in the golden age of internet poetry, don't you think? I'm not certain how long it's going to last, but there sure are a lot of weekly participants and readers for the Kidlitosphere's Poetry Friday! This week, Linda at Write Time is hosting the Round-Up, stop by and enjoy!

22 comments:

  1. Diane, you know how much I love post cards. I'd never heard of Tall Tale postcards. Thanks for posting the giant bunny. I like the way your poem addresses how "trick" photography has evolved, not always to our benefit.

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    1. I'm so surprised you hadn't heard of tall tale postcards! I'll bet now you'll come across them everywhere!

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  2. I like how you worked around the barriers to get what you wanted. Thanks for persisting -- the postcard is funny, and I love your perspective (as always).

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  3. Dian, I love this postcard. I have seen similar when visiting in AZ. I hope that Internet poetry lasts a long time

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    1. Thanks, Jone! I received your swap poem postcard, too! Many thanks!

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  4. You mean the big bunny isn't real? ;)
    I didn't know about all these Tall Tale postcards but I love them -- even with the internet and advanced photo editing tools available now, these still have an old fashioned charm about them -- a kind of perfection in the imperfections. What fun. Great poem. :)

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    1. They are SO appealing. And quirky. And full of subtle humor.

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  5. I don't know about the Tall Tale postcards either, but on the way to Missouri from Colorado there is always a sign that says world's largest prairie dog. One year we stopped; it's a huge concrete statue! I guess there must be a postcard although I don't remember buying one. I love that you brought up the point of checking all before believing-imperative today! And love the story of your very own postcard!

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  6. Cool, Diane...now will you write the poem about the rabbit roundup?

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  7. Oh, my! Love the photo AND the poem!

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  8. That saddle doesn't seem quite big enough... Can you imagine *riding* that bunny? Seems terrifying to me!

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    1. But, oh, so soft! My idea of tactile heaven.

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  9. Diane, once again you captivated my interest in ephemera with tall tale ones. I must admit that I neither heard of these postcards or have one in my collection. Always love how you pair historical documents with poetry.

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    1. Carol, you now have mission! I'll bet you'll have one in your collection before the summer is out!

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  10. Methinks we need to use this image for our Poetry Friday roundups! Aren't we all "riding the bunny" in one form or another?!?! :-)

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    1. What an awesome idea, Mary Lee! I'll get right on it!

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    2. Haha - you both crack me up. Better hang on during the hops.

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    3. I'm sorry, Robyn, but there's nothing funny about conquering your poetry bunny. ;-)

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