Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Writing Poetry Challenge Tip #14 - When You Think You Don't Have Any Words, Find Some

There is this THING that happens sometimes with writers. It happens to me and maybe it has happened to you. Especially as we go into the October Challenge, we need to prepare for those days when we just can't squeeze another word out... or it feels like we just can't squeeze another word out.

Your solution? Found poetry! 

There are two ways to write Found Poetry. 

Both are valid and I have, at times, used one or another as an exercise in creativity. Now, it is YOUR turn!

Tip #14 – If you think you’ve got absolutely nothing to say, pick up today’s newspaper (or the copy on the ketchup bottle or a page of your text book) and shuffle the words any which way. Speak them aloud and reconfigure them. Just like that, you’ve got… a new poem. If you think you MAY have something to say, pick a line or two of any poem at all, perhaps with a word or phrase you like. Go for a walk while reciting the words. Either return home or sit on a bench at wherever your destination was and write. Just like that, you’ve got… a new poem.

I like to use found poetry techniques and I find, over and over again, I am at least entertained and happy at my molding and shaping of words, even if it isn’t a poem I ever go back to for revision or publication, it has gotten me through a patch when I thought I couldn’t write at all.

Found poetry reminds me “Si, se puede.” Yes, I can. And you can, too. 

First, I am going to have an evening snack in place of dinner. Some Special K. I am going to use the box to scribe a found poem as I type. 

The Pantry (I added five extra words NOT on the cereal box)

tips and advice sprint
deliciously on the go
munch fresh berries
forget cracker cravings
face moments of feeling
temptations rise up
choices stutter before we
face full moments
remember, indulge textures
sprinkling afternoon’s clouds
Through the pantry door

Right before I sat munching and writing, I gathered Two lines from Robert Frost’s Poem, After Apple Picking.   The two lines are in bold below.

And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill (and) Upon my way to sleep before it fell

I chose these two lines because I liked how they sounded separately and together. I changed the perspective from first person and wrote a completely fictitious poem. There are some inspirations for my observations of life today, but other than that, I can’t tell you anything. This little girl in the navy blue sweater lives in my imagination and across school playgrounds of the 1960’s. Do you recognize yourself in her?

Upon her way to sleep before it fell
Her neck bent, her forehead hovers
Above the concrete hopscotch board boasts
Its numbers, a living dare
Children sing of dells and farmers
She waits, hunched
Breath chopped and stitched
With worry and memory and
Distaste of that boy, the one who called
Sheep in hairy, unobtrusive, costumes.
Bell rings, its sound rolls through her.
She remembers then
There’s a barrel that he didn’t fill
She straightens her navy blue sweater
And lifts her head


And then there are poems where you may use none of your own words. This is called the Cento Poem and here are some how-to's and examples, again from Poets.org.

One final thing: Be sure to register for OctPoWriMo if you haven't yet. Here's a link for you to sign up now.

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