Writing exercise: glossary poem

In Solmaz Sharif’s Look: Poems, pieces about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rely on using the dual meanings of words of war utilized by the government. Those include words such the one used in the collection title and first poem—

look— (*) In mine warfare, a period during which a mine circuit is receptive of an influence. 

We can then note the last line of the poem, “Look,” in which the meaning is both relied upon and subverted to its original usage:

Let me LOOK at you./ Let me LOOK at you in a light that takes years to get here.

In this vein, try writing a poem that uses a of glossary of specific terms, allowing their use to perpetuate and/or subvert those topical definitions. Use the definitions or specific terminology in a way that gives a newness to the knowledge set: whether it’s a set of confidential government codes or a compilation of terms used to describe antique watch restoration, let the definitions create new meanings while also staying true to their world.

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