Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 12 2017- National Poetry Month: How to #1

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!


During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's "How to" exercise, consider both the actual process of the following action as well as things that could be in the narrator's mind or happening surrounding the objective.

How to remove a staple from a foot.

Definitely include the "victim's" reactions, ways used to calm the person or if it's a non-incident, how the reaction might be different at a younger age.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April 9 2017- National Poetry Month: The List Poem #1 Madlibbing

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!


During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's poem I want you to write a list poem about vacation.

To formulate the poem I feel that it's important to get a few lists to base it off of. So, here's what we're going to do: Make some lists, then write the poem. Sounds simple enough.

Step 1: Lists
List 1: List 5-10 items that you brought with you (as the narrator) on the trip.
List 2: List 5-10 items that you either purchased, or considered purchasing on your vacation (this isn't just trinkets and souvenirs, but food, toiletry emergencies, first aid stuff, large items like boats, condos, cars, unique items etc).
List 3: List 3-7 negative or distasteful notions of the place or people of where the poem vacations or where the narrator is from (stereotypes, weather, geography, shopping, whatever negative you can think of).
List 4: List 3-10 things that you missed while on vacation or which you miss from the vacation once returning home (at least one from home).
List 5: List 3-7 specific place names at the vacation location. Don't be shy about googling.

Step 2: Expanding
For each list pick at least three to five list items and write a note (a sentence or two) about it.

List 1 expand on how that item is used back home and how it was used on the vacation.
List 2 expand on how the thing that was purchased or almost purchased was different from a similar object back home.
List 3 expand on your experience with that stereotype or idea of the place whether confirming or repudiating it.
List 4 expand on what it was that you missed about the item/thing. At least one of the list items must be something you miss from back home.
List 5 expand on either the very specific location of that place (either something temporal that you remember or imagine, like a person wearing a hot pink hat or a fruit car, or something more concrete like directions to another landmark or item from the list. Interweave place directions a couple times when possible.

Final expansion: In one or two sentences describe anything memorable about traveling whether to, from or while you're there.

Step 3: Assembling
So now you have a bunch of lists, and a bunch of sentences. This will be a messy file/piece of paper, don't worry. Insert a page break and start this with a blank canvas. There will be copy/pasting here to the general poem shape.

1: From each expanded list pick two sentences, and three other items but just the list item.
2: If a poem doesn't leap out at you from those start the poem in this general format and then mold that wad of clay into a unique piece of your own.

Warned of __(two or more List 3 items without the expansion whether or not they're expanded upon but be sure to include one that was expanded)___
I was more concerned about __(two or more list items from List 1 including one of the expanded sentences. )
Instead of ___(include a different item from List 5)
I found ____(three items from List 2, no expansion),
my ____(one item from List 1 that might be carried if applicable)
__(mode of transportation)___ down/by/past ___(two expanded items from List 5)
__(three items from List 4 including one expanded sentence)__
My __(expanded item from List 2)__
__(Expansion from List 3 item used at the beginning of the poem)
while I thought of/pined for/dreamed of __(the List 4 expanded sentence about something from home)___.
Bookended with __(final expanded sentence about traveling)__ and a little melancholy,
__(1-2 items from List 2, at most 1 used already, but switch the wording up a little when possible)__ and ___(List 4 item that was expanded upon).

Step 4: Polishing
Now this is going to be very jumpy and awkward. It needs some connective tissue. Smooth it out, and look carefully at your verbs, and be sure your adjectives really earn their worth or cut them. They're the easiest excess to trim usually. Have fun and write that piece!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

April 8 2017- National Poetry Month: Feminine Assonance

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!

During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's exercise we'll play around with feminine assonant rhymes/slant rhymes. Another way to say feminine rhyme is multi-syllabic rhyming, or, having two sounds rhyming instead of the standard one. Like: "If only I were just lonely."

Exercise 1: The Brainstorm
Pick two hard vowel sounds. /A/ as in Cake, /E/ as in Cheek, /I/ as in Bike, /O/ as in Choke and how about /oo/ as in Chew.



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

For each vowel sound make a list of at least a fifteen words off the top of your head that are one-to-three syllables that have that sound. If  your multi-syllabic word or phrase includes both sounds circle it. If you need help use Rhyme Zone.

Exercise 2: The Coupling
So now you have 30 words. Find at least eight pairs (repeat each word up to three times) that can work adjacent to each other and write a snippet/line/sentence that would put it into context. These can include your circled words if you're struggling to get eight.

Exercise 3: The Meditation
Pick your favorite two or more snippets that you think you can connect and think on how they could meet for a few minutes. Look back to your original lists of words and jot down at least eight that might be of use in the poem. They will season the sonics of your piece.

Exercise 4: The Construction
Now you have Point A and Point B connect them with the narrative aid of the words you'd written and construct your poem.


Alternate exercise: Five words

Use the following five words in a piece.

Calm, Leak, Polite, Establish, Injure


Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6 2017- National Poetry Month: Title Mania #2

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!


During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's Title Mania exercise I will provide three titles, pick one and write a piece that you feel goes along with the title. For additional fun, I've included an item and a color that you can try to work in as well.

Titles

1: Removing Doubt
2: Elligible
3: An Uneven Stack of Papers


Bonus stuff

Color: Burgundy
Item: A Towel

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 5 2017- National Poetry Month: Three Things #1

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!


During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go! Today's exercise is the old favorite.

Three Things

Find a way to use the following three things in a poem:

A soggy crouton, A roll of quarters, An ice cube.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 4 2017- National Poetry Month: Title Mania #1

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!


During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's Title Mania exercise I will provide three titles, pick one and write a piece that you feel goes along with the title. For additional fun, I've included an item and a color that you can try to work in as well.

Titles

1: The Saltiest Broth
2: Bent Wick
3: Not Exactly Spooning


Bonus stuff

Color: Apricot
Item: A Wallet

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3 2017- National Poetry Month: Word Pairings

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!


During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's exercise I will give you two lists of ten words and a few mini-exercises and then we'll write a short poem using some of the exercise products. It will make sense, trust me.

List I: Thistle, Combine, Patrol, Garner, Wipe, Juxtapose (or juxtoposed), Grip, Porch, Crunch, Brew
List II: Zest (or zesty), Knot, Facade, Scoop, Owl, Yesterday, Polish, Loom, Affront, Boulder

The Exercise 

1: Pick five pairs of words that you think will work together, one from list one and one from list 2. For each pair of words write a sentence (make it poetic, but don't think too hard about it, no more than a minute on each one, thirty seconds is better for this exercise).

2: Find a way to make each sentence 1-3 words shorter without sacrificing its meaning or any quality words (or of course either of the pair).

3: Pick a brand new pair of words from the list that you hadn't used yet and repeat exercises 1-2.

4: From your chosen words pick two that hadn't been originally paired and repeat exercises 1-2.

So.

Now you should have have seven relatively pared down lines.

5: Write 2 quatrains (four-lined stanzas) which each utilize the majority of two of your sentences (2 in one quatrain, 2 in the second).

6: Pick your favorite quatrain and expand it as needed until you have either a full piece, or you're satisfied with it as a fragment.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April 2 2017- National Poetry Month: Complete a Piece Sunday: Dueling Cinquains

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!

During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's exercise we'll write a short poem that includes two American Cinquains which offer opposite opinions on something.

An American Cinquain is a variation of a Japanese form, as most very short American forms tend to be. And I'm also not too much of a stickler for form rules, they're more of a guideline at least for rough drafts, and edits, so don't worry too much about the meter, just keep the syllabics intact (2/4/6/4/2), so this is what the Cinquains will look like:

Two syll-
abbles, four syll-
abbles, six syllables,
four syllabbles
two syll.

Or, to show the idea of dueling Cinquains here's something off the top of my head.

Yellow
radiated
from the violet like sun-
spikes toward her heart
again.

The bruise
was healing nicely
he thought, pounding his beer,
recalling mom's
sunsets.

Of course this would be about an abusive relationship, the first describing what a bruise looks like as it begins healing at the edges, and the second is of a man surveying the healing bruise and a little insight into the underlying cause of the abuse. This isn't explicit. A little ambiguity is good for the poetic soul.

Cinquains don't allow for much plot development because of their brief nature, so try to focus on images, and very-much avoid (or, use with caution) words longer than three syllables and phrasal verbs (for instance: "cut down on" could be "reduce" or "curtail" or "slash" or "pared" although depending on the situation, pared may still need the down to be correct, I still think "pared down" is more poetic/interesting than "cut down on")

A few examples of topics that could have opposite opinions would be two witnesses recounting something (a car accident, an insult, a home run, a fight, a war etc), it could be relatives (son/grandfather, mother/daughter, rural cousin/urban cousin etc), it could be someone from an ancient culture and someone from a modern culture examining some aspect of the world with their varied knowledge and perspectives.

This could easily be expanded as well, whether you bounce back and forth between the same two voices/perspectives or you add additional voices, or you could even keep the two you have and approach multiple subjects. A Babylonian and a skate punk could talk about the sky, their parents, their plans for the future, and remember, your title is your billboard, your exposition. If you were to write the aforementioned sequence it could be titled "The Babylonian and the Skate Punk Eat Twinkies and Contemplate Life and Stuff" or something. Long titles can be a great addition to a poem both in catching a reader's eye right away, but also with setting a scene that would otherwise take up the beginning of the poem with exposition when you could begin en media res.

Since we're taking a Japanese inspired form, let's listen to some Japanese music. I love Joe Hisaishi for writing background music, so here is an hour-ish album of his piano music called "Piano Stories 1"

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April 1 2017- National Poetry Month begins with a Three Things exercise

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH IS BACK!

During April I will try to update daily with new writing exercises and tips, links etc. Go National Poetry Month go!

For today's exercise write a piece of poetry or prose that somehow utilizes the following three things:



A stained blue shirt, a Plum, a wooden matchstick.