Tuesday, March 07, 2006

List poem

Despite the fact that this idea comes from a book about writing poetry, it gets at the same idea as capturing images in your Writer's Journal. It's about noticing the quirky details that bring a scene to life.

So make a list of things around you, perhaps what's on your desk. Perhaps the family room. Perhaps a busy coffee shop. Be aware of the details. It's not just a pencil, it's an unsharpened pencil, a chewed pencil, a neon pencil, a weary pencil ...

If you want to be poetic, go back over your list and organize them in a satisfying order.

Robert Mitchell suggests that such an exercise will help you "begin to see the possibility of 'speaking' in images rather than in sentences or concepts." Fiction writers kind of need sentences or readers won't stick around long ;-) but we can borrow the poets' penchant for painting images with words.

From: The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach, edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell.
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