Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Poetry Writing Drills--Suite #1: Get Things Flowing

This is something I put together I while back and just found...sort of advice I wrote for myself about writing. I thought it would be cool if anyone wants to give the drills a shot. Feel free to try them and post any interesting results as a comment...

Get Things Flowing--Writing is about feelings. It is about capturing how you feel about certain persons, places, things, or ideas. These subjects could be out there in the world, in the world you create, or they could be so deep inside you that you almost forget they’re there. The feelings you describe could be the essence of your personality, or they could surprise you when they come out. Or they could be made up because they sound nice, but I think the best writing comes from real feelings. But feelings come from the heart, not the head, in a sense. If you have to think about something, it becomes a thought, not a feeling.

For that reason, you should at least start off by writing quickly, before you have to time to think about the words coming out. You want to start by getting the pure feelings out there as the canvas, and then use your mind to revise and organize in a way that best presents them. As Forrester says in that cheesy movie, “Write with your heart, revise with your head.”

These drills are designed to practice getting the feelings flowing. Later you will practice controlling the rhythm and the form, but for now don’t worry about these things. The idea is to do these drills quickly, stream of consciousness. Whatever pops up, write it down without hesitation. They may come out as word associations, but whatever. The point is to get the channels open for traffic.

1. Quickly write down your 10 greatest and deepest fears

2. Quickly write down your 10 greatest fantasies

3. Quickly write down 3 things you hope nobody knows about you

4. Quickly write down 4 things you wish people knew about you

5. Quickly write down the names of 5 people you find to be the most interesting.

6. Write a poem about at least one thing mentioned above.


Brian said...

I agree with your approach to writing. One of my favorite poets is Russell Edson, who is also an advocate of this sort of "unconscious" writing to be edited later. My version of this approach, written in poem for is this

Poems written with vomit.
The poet spends his days
mopping things up.

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