Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fooling around with the Practice of Poetry

Please join the DWC along with The Zen Center of Syracuse and Syracuse University Graduate Student Organization and Student Buddhist Association for a reading by Chase Twichell tomorrow at 7:30 in the Hall of Languages. Here the DWC brings you one of Chase's favorite writing exercises, from her book The Practice of Poetry:

Twenty Little Poetry Projects
by Jim Simmerman

  1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
  3. Use at least one image for each of the five sense, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
  7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  8. Use a word (slang?) you've never seen in a poem.
  9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
  10. Use a piece of "talk" you've actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don't understand).
  11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: "The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . . "
  12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
  13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he/she could not do in "real life."
  14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
  17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
  18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
  19. Make a nonhuman object say or do something human (personification).
  20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that "echoes" an image from earlier in the poem.

Open the poem with the first project and close it with the last. Otherwise use the projects in whatever order you like, giving each project at least one line. Try to use all twenty projects. Feel free to repeat those you like. Fool around. Enjoy.

The Practice of Poetry, Robin Behn and Chase Twichell, eds. c. 1992. Used by permission of the author.

No comments:

Post a Comment