Poemophone Project: The Profanity Sessions #1. Thursday, June 23, 2011

So far, we have been playing the Poemophone and brainstorming on what to do with the idea of how different the profane sounds (“like a Japanese waterfall,” says Hank–age 9) on the instrument v. how it sounds from the mouth. Videos to follow once we surmount…


I had hoped to post some videos of the kids working with the Poemophone but I am having trouble with editing and they MUST be edited as I am pretty sure no one wants to watch 45 minutes (fights and digressions included) of a nine–year-old and a five-year-old. I downloaded Microsoft’s Movie Maker (it’s free) but find that it will not play audio on a .gp. I have not figured out how to convert the file to something that Microsoft will read or what other free (important operative word: FREEE) editor would be good.


Cussing costumes.

Profanity Houses (May, the five-year-old, came up with this one. This seems like a thinly veiled attempt to move the project over to making doll houses).

Iconic drawings of profanity (see photos).

A comic book or video game story board in which all the characters are profane words.  Hank’s idea for this one is that each character would have an unusual and hilarious history so that you could see how a character turned out to be Dick or Asshole or Bitch or Fucker.

Substitutions for the profane such as: What the canoe?! Well you can just octopus! Melancholy off! (This is all kids, not me.)

Illustrations of profanity animals (May with that one again). These are real animals they have somehow assigned to all of the “cuss” words that they know.  “Shit” is a star-nosed mole. “Dick” is a barracuda.

Recordings on why the profane is so interesting. Me interviewing kids.

Recordings contrasting the words “Shit, fuck, piss” with the instrument sounds.

A bizarre cardboard computer that only types profanity.


Suggestions for any of these elements or for additions are welcome.  Of course, we might tell you to “fuck off” but, as Hank has noted, “We would mean nothing by it.  It’s just words you use and they do not necessarily mean anything harsh. It’s like Wednesday. Nothing really happens on Wednesday but all you can come up with to describe that day is that word, ‘Wednesday.”


All suggestions must be low tech and quickly executable. I am finding that even glue is too slow for these artists. Duct tape, cardboard, paper and pencil seem to be ruling.


  1. Hi Mary — This is great. Bad ass. Photos are alright. A soiled quality. If anything, make them worse. — P&L

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