Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to ...

Write a "how to" poem.

Get those teacher voices out of your head. You needn't write about a "poetic" subject. You needn't even be serious. Rhyme or don't rhyme, up to you though rhyming can add to humor :-) As usual, jot down ideas first. As with a novel you shouldn't expect the first draft to be anything more than a basket of unsorted ideas.

If you need some inspiration to get the ideas flowing:
  • How to eat an ice cream cone on a 90 degree day.
  • How to remain a loyal Cubs fan.
  • How to be a cat owner (as detailed by your cat)
  • How to Catch 'em All.
  • How to spend a whole day surfing the internet.
  • How to be a dog.
  • How to avoid becoming a vampire.
  • How to rescue a maiden (who prefers to rescue herself).
  • Type "How to" into Google and see what suggestions it comes up with.
And some ideas gathered from others:
  • How to train your dragon.
  • How to write a poem.
  • How to break someone's heart.
  • How to distinguish a flower from a frog.
  • How to eat spaghetti.
  • How to ask for a date.
  • How to forget.
  • How to be a tornado.
  • How to sleep.

Here are a couple of examples linked from Poetry Express:

Tract by William Carlos Williams (How to perform a funeral)
I will teach you my townspeople
how to perform a funeral--
for you have it over a troop
of artists--
unless one should scour the world--
you have the ground sense necessary.

See! the hearse leads.
I begin with a design for a hearse.
For Christ's sake not black--
nor white either--and not polished!
Let it be weathered--like a farm wagon--
with gilt wheels (this could be
applied fresh at small expense)
or no wheels at all:
a rough dray to drag over the ground.
more ....

The Principles of Concealment by David R. Wagoner
If you're caught in the open
In an exposed position, alone,
Disarmed, and certain you may be
Attacked at any moment, you should settle quickly
All your differences with whatever lies
Around you, forcing yourself to agree
With rocks and bushes, trees and wild grass,
Horses, cows, or sheep, even debris
To find what you have in common. You no longer
Want to seem what you are, but something
Harmless and familiar: in a landscape
Given to greenness and the cold pastels
more ...

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