Ten-Minute Spill

Write a ten line poem. The poem must include a proverb, adage, or cliché that you have changed in some way as well as five of the following words:

  • cliff
  • needle
  • voice
  • whir
  • strawberry
  • cloud
  • mother
  • lick

You have ten minutes.

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-cliches.html
http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-proverbs.html
http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-adage-in-literature.html

http://watchout4snakes.com/wo4snakes/Random/RandomWord

Try this list as a “spill”:

  • northern
  • put
  • upper
  • fast
  • inquiry
  • plastic
  • limited
  • grace

or this:

  • estate
  • measure
  • underneath
  • resemblance
  • mortality
  • theatre
  • herd
  • resurrection

If you don’t freeze immediately in terror – and the ridiculously short time allotment usually allays panic, since you know it is impossible to write a poem in ten minutes, right? – what tends to come out are scary and wild chunks of psychic landscape.

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Translations: Idea to Image

“Shut your eyes and I’ll say a word. Open your eyes and write down what you saw.”

If I say “justice,” you may see a judge in a courtroom. This is the mind’s “translation” of an idea, an abstract concept to a mental picture, an image. The mind does this naturally.

For example:

  • Love: hearts, a loved one’s face
  • Death: coffin, grave, tombstone
  • Self: mirror, photo, guitar case
  • Soul: votive candle, Black-Eyed Peas, apple core

Be honest about what you see. Don’t worry if you see a Brussels sprout when I say “self” — your mind is telling you something. It is making a connection, which may not be readily apparent to you.

There is no such thing as a non sequitor the mind always has logic; it might not be obvious logic, but the mind has its reasons for connecting two seemingly unlike notions.

Let’s track the process a little bit. If I say “self” and you see a Brussels sprout, continue to interrogate that image and write down the next image it inspires, and the next. You may find that you are “tracking: the ignition of a poem — let’s say you see a hand picking up the Brussels sprout, or a toy next to it. You recognize the hand as yours, your hand as a child, you begin to enlarge the frame, you see it’s you as a baby eating Brussels sprouts for the first time, conscious of being a separate (perhaps suffering!) being. That’s OK, too, but keep the record, write down these signals from the unconscious.

Writing is an intuitive process; we must trust our intuition.

Here is a list of “abstractions” in four groups to enable a solo poet to play a kind of translation “solitaire.”

  1. Rage, Order, Justice, Common
  2. Solitude, Ecstasy, Evil, Gratitude
  3. Mercy, Pain, Hunger, God
  4. Peace, War, History, Angel

The idea is investigation: follow the thread back to the literal referent.

Give yourself five minutes. Pick a word, at first glance, from each group, then write down all the non sequitor images you get for each one.

See where this takes you. See what connections occur among the groups.

Look at what you’ve written and circle words that seem most vivid or evocative, that seem to reverberate with intention.

Take another five minutes. Try these words in lines.

Experiment; allow your intuition to lead you. Don’t frighten yourself: trust what comes up.

If you want to try a kind of solitaire, put each word on a card and deal your own groups. You could use all the listed words in a kind of nonassociative narrative – place one list over another, try to connect these dissimilar progressions.

http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Tamarian_language

http://iblog.stjschool.org/poetry/2017/03/22/saturday-at-the-canal/

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Only Connect

Select any three entries from your blog and discover in verse the connection among them.

The three entires on which you base the poem should be well removed from one another, so that there is no bossy idea, package, or summary.

Many academic (mis)instructors ask, What is the poet trying to say? As if s/he had some awful throat disease. The poet who successfully completes this exercise may answer that what s/he is saying is what has been said (of course it ought to make some sense).

The capital-M meaning of the poem, that is, consists exactly in the language, imagination, and logic that found the connections. Ideas inevitably emerge from poetry, they must not determine it.

Try cutting and pasting a list of phrases and putting them next to each other causes ideas to emerge:

I should add that I enjoy poems with an emphasis on the abstract or philosophic, but the intellectual control of a poem is something to apply after the materials have been allowed to float to the surface.

Pingback SVP.

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