Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Poetry Writing Challenge Tip 15: Writing the Mundane?

This is not only a great writing warm-up, it is a fantastic way to practice writing objectively in clear, concise language. When you read a poet like Mary Oliver, you will find NONE of her words are wasted. She simply consistently chooses the best words and has confessed sometimes she will write fifty drafts of a poem until she is satisfied.

Tip 15: Write about the most mundane “thing” you can.
In my writing classes, we do this exercise early.

First, set a timer for two minutes.

Second, choose something random that is right around your desk.

Look at it as if you have never seen it before. Pick it up, look at it from all sides, feel it with your cheek or the inside of your arm instead of just your hands. Smell it, close your eyes and feel it without seeing it.

Begin the timer and begin to describe your object.
Do it now! I'll give you space to write. It will only take two minutes! Write continually until the timer goes off. If you have "nothing left to say, look at your object again. Its shape, its size, its color, its texture, what function it is made to serve. Be creative.

One time I had a student say, “I never noticed so many things about my trash can before!” or another favorite is an ordinary bottle of water.

When you observe closely as if what you are seeing is the first time you are seeing it, your poetry will come alive. Keep these “warm-ups” as ideas and lines for your next poem. Sometimes the most effective poem may be about something completely ordinary.

One of my favorite poetry sets is about…. Coffee. Which I drink as I write, every time.

What did you write about today?

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