Sunday, April 13, 2008

two sets of poetry exercises

in addition to Mayer's

by Daisy Freid:

Writing suggestion for your poem of the day, one per day.
1. Write a ten-line poem in which each line is a lie.
2. Write a poem that tells a story in 18 lines or less, and includes at
least four proper nouns.

3. Write a poem that uses any of the senses EXCEPT SIGHT as its
predominant imagery.

4. Write a poem inspired by a newspaper article you read this week.

5. Write a poem without adjectives.

6. Ask your roommate/neighbor/lover/friend/mother/anyone for a subject
(as wild as they want to make it) for a ten-minute poem. Now write a poem
about that subject in ten minutes; make it have a beginning, a middle and
an end.
7. Write the worst poem you possibly can. Now edit it and make it even

8. Poem subject: A wind blows something down. Or else it doesn't. Write
it in ten minutes.

9. Write a poem with each line, or at least many of the lines, filling in
the blanks of "I used to________, but now I_________."

11. Write a poem consisting entirely of things you'd like to say, but
never would, to a parent, lover, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best
friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.

12. Write a poem that uses as a starting point a conversation you

13. First line of today's poem: "This is not a poem, but..."

14. Write a poem in the form of either a letter or a speech which uses at
least six of the following words: horses, "no, duh," adolescent, autumn
leaves, necklace, lamb chop, Tikrit, country rock, mother, scamper, zap,
bankrupt. Take no more than 13 minutes to write it.

15. Write a poem which includes a list or lists-shopping list, things to
do, lists of flowers or rocks, lists of colors, inventory lists, lists of
events, lists of names...
16. Poem subject: A person runs where no running is allowed. Write it in
ten minutes.

17. Write a poem in the form of a personal ad.

18. Write a poem made up entirely of questions. Or write a poem made up
entirely of directions.

19. Write a poem about the first time you did something.

20. Write a poem about falling out of love.
21. Make up a secret. Then write a poem about it. Or ask someone to give
you a made-up or real secret, and write a poem about it.

22. Write a poem about a bird you don't know the name of.

23. Write a hate poem.
24. Free-write for, say, 15 minutes, but start with the phrase "In the
kitchen" and every time you get stuck, repeat the phrase "In the
kitchen." Alternatively, use any part of a house you have lots of
associations with-"In the garage," "In the basement," "In the bathroom,"
"In the yard."

25. Write down 5-10 words that sound ugly to you. Use them in a poem.
26. Write a poem in which a motorcycle and a ballerina appear.

27. Write a poem out of the worst part of your character.
28. Write a poem that involves modern technology-voice mail, or instant
messaging, or video games, or...
29. Write a seduction poem in which somebody seduces you.

30. Radically revise a poem you wrote earlier this month.

another list

1. Write a really ugly poem.
2. Quickly pick out 12 words from the titles of books on a nearby bookshelf. Use them in a poem.
3. Write a poem with an invented biography for yourself.
4. Take a 1-2 page poem from a book and re-type it backwardsfrom the very last word in the poem all the way to the very first, keeping the lines the same lengths as they are in the book. Use this as the starting point of a poem, picking out the word formations that are particularly interesting to you.
5. Write from the number six.
6. Write to your pain: "Dear Pad of My Thumb, Will you kindly stop hurting? It is very hard for me to stir a pot or write a poem when you hurt like this..."
7. Let your pain write back to you: "Dear Liesl, if you would lay off the text messaging and playing minesweeper it would help me a lot, then you can write your poem or stir a pot..."
8. Write to your hurting country, city or community, as a variation on the theme. Take the dialogue as far as it goes, then distill the essence. See if you can arrive at a fresh insight about what ails you and yours.
9. Wow! You’ve been at this over a week straight! Let your hand draw an abstract shape. Write about it.
10. Speaking as a fortune teller, tell a fortune. The first line is: You will take a strange journey ...... Finish the prediction/forecast by describing the journey and giving instructions or advice or even warnings for the journey.
11. Write a poem of at least 40 lines that is a single sentence.
12. Take fairy tale and rewrite it from the viewpoint of another character. For example, use the wolf to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
13. Write about a family secret.
14. Write an apostrophe to some abstraction (e.g., "To the End of the World" or "To My Birth").
15. Write about someone waiting for something.
16. Write about a color without naming the coloror its kin, e.g., no fair using “crimson” “scarlet” or “ruddy” instead of red.
17. Take any object out of your bag or pocket or purse. Speaking in first person AS THE OBJECT answer the following questions (in any order): What is your favorite thing? What are you scared of? What is your secret? What is your wish for the future?
18. Take someone else's poem and select one word per line, writing them out in a list. Then write your own poem using these words in the same sequence, one per line.
19. Write 100 words (any kind of words) about your kitchen table.
20. Write a poem in which the form contradicts the content.
21. Write a piece at least 50 words long using only one-syllable words.
22. Take a common object, such as a flowerpot, boot or paperclip, and write about it as if you’ve never seen such a thing before (e.g., you’re from the future and have just excavated it, or are from another planet).
23. Take the name of a favorite poet and anagram it. Use this to begin a poem.
24. Pick a word from today’s headlines and write a definition poem for it.
25. Write the poem you cannot write.
26. What Work is For You: Write about a job you have had, whether you loathed it or loved it. Write from your own experience but go beyond the literal! Keep the poem in the present tense, and BE SURE THERE IS A PHYSICAL ACTION INVOLVED such as scrubbing floors, dissecting chickens, helping someone use the toilet. Keep your poem in couplets, tercets, quatrains, or sestetsyour choice.
27. Write a poem in a received form in such a way that the form is concealed.
28. Imagine a drink or food dish that would bring you fully alive. Write the recipe.
29. Begin with, “This is not the last poem I will write…”
30. Elide the Junk: Take a piece of junk mail and black out most of the words so that what remains is a poem.

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