I hand this little writing exercise out when I have a substitute and have to be out of the classroom. It is a fun writing exercise that makes students think about how they structure their writing and reviews some of the finer points of style.
Everyone can write poetry. There is no secret or tricks, no divine inspiration and no challenge of the cranium. Anyone can write poetry. If you follow my simple instructions, you will be writing poetry. Here is the catch: the poetry you will be writing will not be good. It will be downright awful, but it will be poetry and you will have fun writing it. This method cannot and will not turn you into the next Willy Shakespeare, but you will be able to create a verse or two at the next office jam, rather than sitting like a wallflower and getting zero respect.
Line One – Take two nouns and fill them into this phrase: “In the ________ of my ________,”
Line Two – Use one of the five senses to describe the intangible.
Example: “I touched a memory of the setting sun” or “I smelled the painful emotion” or “I heard the distant thoughts of Daytona”.
Line Three – Finish this sentence: “My name is ________.”
Line Four – Write two actions linked with the word “and”
Example: “I rubbed my head and washed a window.” or “I sing a song and play hopscotch” or “I played basketball and drove a car.”
Line Five – Compare two different colors.
Example: “Red is better than Yellow” or “Green is more dominant than Black” or “Aquamarine is more masculine than Turquoise”
Line Six – State a preference for a food substance for someone else.
Example: “Patrick likes steak.” or “My dentist enjoys a good candy bar” or “Tiger Woods hates a warm cup of Gatorade”
Line Seven – Anthropomorphize an animal doing something.
Example: “The dog played the banjo” or “The manatee did my taxes” or “The duck-billed platypus ran for Congress”
Line Eight – Assign a sound for something silent
Example: “The book went buzz-buzz” or “Woohoo sounded the wall” or “IckyIckyFaTang yelled the grass”
Line Nine – Describe a place starting with the word, “But”
Example: “But Alaska is cold” or “But Detroit is a fun, friendly place” or “But Canada has Canadians in it”
Line Ten – Write an oxymoron
Example: “Silent noise” or “Jumbo shrimp” or “Tall shortness”
All you have to do is follow these easy steps, and you will be writing your own bad poetry in no time!
- Poetry Issue # 147 (gloomcupboard.com)
- Appreciate Poetry (thewearywriter.com)
- When is the best time to workshop a poem? (josephinecorcoran.wordpress.com)