Literature 12-15-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Charisse Gendron

This week's poem, "Plush" by Charisse Gendron, is the second of three of the poet's NONSETS series which were selected as What Light winners by this round's judges. This one was selected by poet William Stobb.

Charisse Gendron
book cover

“Plush,” Nonsets 6

It tailgates me up downy plexiglass
its luddite honking hooking guilty hearts
of palms on boat-shaped plates of bitter grass.
Enjoy, ye souls of tailored tucks and darts

whose truculent intention is to crop
this alien corn to make it foreigner
till minimal as flutes these martyrs drop
and I become the curious coroner.

Russet as potato quills the sun
through buttonholes of maybe, maybe not.
Give me a double shot of Gwen Verdon.
I do not doubt. I doubt. I do not doubt.

Beaver will gnaw, will worry till incur
serrates to feathers, foliates to fur.


“Pedestal,” “Plush,” and “Jam” are part of a nine-poem series called Nonsets. To write these poems, I quickly make a list of words without considering content, only sound. Then I write a sonnet using the words. So, the syntax and prosody are traditional, but the narrative is skewed, subliminal. Incidentally, I plan to make a chapbook out of the nonsets, and I am looking for an illustrator. I’m thinking quirky but delicate line drawings. Please contact me if you have an idea.


Charisse Gendron is a grant writer and poet.