Dear George F. Cram #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018

crams superior map.JPG

Dear George F. Cram:

I wonder
what makes
your superior
map
so superior

Is it the
spring roller mount
or the
markable-kleenable
material?

Is it the pastel
colors
outlining
Nebraska’s 93 counties?

Your superior map
pops
pleases the eye

Or is it
superior
only because
it’s stamped
“superior”?

On your map,
Nebraska history
begins
in 1541
with Coronado
continues
in 1673
with Marquette
continues
in 1804
with Lewis and Clark

You said
you intended
to keep
studying
for your
whole life
And
your map
shows
you had
a lot
to learn
about this place
and
the people
who have lived
here
for thousands
of years.

 

Notes: This poem came from a letter poem exercise in Stephen Dunning and William Stafford’s Getting the Knack: 20 Poetry Writing Exercises. My preferred table at my coffee shop is placed under this map, which reminds me of the maps hanging in classrooms of my childhood. And no wonder: most likely, the maps in those classrooms were also produced by the George F. Cram Company, which began making maps in 1867 and eventually supplied many American classrooms with maps and globes. The map includes a history of the state which focuses exclusively on European presence.

One thought on “Dear George F. Cram #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018

  1. I love how the questions really stand out in this poem! You also remind me how short lines in poetry can have such a powerful effect.

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