Writing about Things that Don’t Interest Us.

Whenever I’m able to shake off my procrastination and sit down to write a new poem my mind always reels to all the things in life I care about; things I have passion for and stick with me that I just need to spew onto the blank page. My last poem was about music because it consumes most of my time and thought.  So far in this class we’ve seen poems ranging from the subjects of Full House to Horror Video Games and beyond. It isn’t uncommon to latch onto our interests when writing creatively–after all we must write what we know so we can dig deeper into our subjects than perhaps other people are willing or able.

But this somewhat obvious revelation brings me to something kind of strange, so bear with me: What if we wrote about things we don’t really care for? Not even things that we dislike, because dislike lends itself to passion as well, but things to which we are indifferent, things apparently of no consequence–that crumb on the table in front of me, the brave and greedy seagull that walks stealthily beside me, the group of three or four swaying beside one another a few yards ahead. These are mundane things, things we see all the time but rarely analyze–because why would we?

Well, perhaps our passion sometimes gets in the way of our writing. That is to say, if we care about something it becomes easy to write with abstraction because we already know the significance of the thing. So maybe if we tried writing about something we have no passion for we would force ourselves to write with more depth and clarity. And maybe the process of writing will illumine the significance of whatever the topic may be and we suddenly find ourselves interested in that thing. This post runs parallel to Katie W.’s about discovering strange facts and basing a poem on them. Maybe the uninteresting topic can eventually serve as the perfect metaphor for something we do care about.

What do you think? Does this idea completely contradict the purpose of creative writing/Poetry writing? Or could it be a useful challenge to strengthen our writing?

Instagram Poetry

As I sat in my house with my eleven other housemates (desperately trying to do work, but of course failing miserably since I live with eleven…other…girls…) I was stumped on what to blog about for this week. Looking around the room, everyone was either engrossed in a calculus book, or talking excitedly to the girl next to her.

After zoning out for far too long, I finally said, “What should I blog about for my poetry class this week?”

An almost eerie silence filled the air. A few people tossed out some cute ideas, but nothing struck me until my friend Kayla said, “You should write about how people post poetry on Instagram.”

“People do that?” I asked, but I immediately knew that that shouldn’t have surprised me. Poetry can be found all around us, so why not Instagram?

Kayla quickly sent me the information, and I began to explore this guy’s Instagram. To my surprise, it wasn’t some random person off the street, Continue reading “Instagram Poetry”

Attending Poetry Readings

I hope everyone’s having a good Wednesday!  This post is going to be a sort of continuation of Katie’s last post, and my comment from that post.

Being honest, I thought I was not the type of person who enjoyed attending readings–I didn’t know what to expect and I thought they would be awkward and stuffy.  I’m the type of person who likes to stay in my bed and eat an entire box of Oreos.  But since joining the creative writing scene here at Geneseo I’ve realized how important it is to push ourselves and do things we might not normally think we’d enjoy. Continue reading “Attending Poetry Readings”

Is There a Geneseo School of Poetry?

This is a topic that has come up a few times in the Gandy Dancer class, both this semester and last. I’ve talked a little with Lucia about this, and we both seem to agree: Geneseo has a definite school or style of poetry. Complex, multidimensional lines; intricate details and images; an aversion to the abstract and vague—these are all things I tend to see in the poems being produced in our workshop and by other Geneseo students that write poetry. Continue reading “Is There a Geneseo School of Poetry?”

Influence on Poetry

I find it funny that people are posting about poetry in their childhood, as I was thinking about which poems really stood out to me when I was young.  I own every book of Shel Silverstein’s poetry, and I remember reading all of them over and over when I was young. My favorite poem of his was probably “Whatif”  from  A Light in the Attic. I still, for some reason, have the introduction memorized: Continue reading “Influence on Poetry”


Sometimes when I’m feeling more disillusioned with poetry as a whole (usually thanks to relatives who tell me that I’ll go nowhere with a degree in creative writing) I look through a collection of quotes about writing that I keep on hand. Recently I’ve been coming down with something (like just about everyone on campus) and haven’t been able to find words as easily as I’d like, so here are a few of my favorite quotes about poetry and writing in hopes that they help you guys through the usual fall colds/viruses:

Continue reading “Quotes”

Giving Robert Frost Another Chance On Friday Night

Like any other wild friday night my roommate and I were listening to some poetry recordings. I put on “An Album of Modern Poetry Vol.1” that I had bought for the Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot on it. First up, however, was Robert Frost; that “two roads” guy who I associated with all of those horrible token poetry days in middle school. I might have skipped forward if I wasn’t tired, and a generally lazy person. By the time he was reading a third poem, “Directive”, I was falling asleep because I wasn’t paying an attention. “Directive” demanded it.

I can’t find a recording of it online, which is a shame because Frost’s gravelly voice really adds to the experience, and the poem is a little long to copy paste entirely, so here are the first four lines. And <a href=http://hellopoetry.com/poem/1048/directive/>here’s</a> the poem for reading at your leisure.

Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,

The 4th line literally pulled me out of quasi-sleep. If it wasn’t for our quick lesson on meter I probably would have attributed this to the hard sounds of that beautiful cluster “graveyard marble sculpture”, which is certainly part of it, but more than that I think its how highly stressed the line is, how it breaks you out of the lulling first three lines with their slant rhyme. I had never really thought about meter before, so I had never really thought about it can be used to emphasize lines where I might have been trying to achieve the same effect with punctuation or italics. The idea of writing with meter is still daunting to me, but the more I find examples like this the more appealing it becomes to me.

The Collectivism of Magnet Poetry

When I was younger, I always wanted a set of magnet poetry so I could write something cute (but most likely just silly) on the fridge. For some reason or another, I never thought about asking for it. No one in my family writes poetry and none of them read it. The fridge is a shared space and although my report cards and little kid artwork went up on the fridge, asking for magnet poetry was unfathomable. Then I went to college and my roommate had a fun set of “college-themed” ones. We used it on our white board outside of our rooms and we would always come back to something new.

Continue reading “The Collectivism of Magnet Poetry”

Childhood Poetry

From a young age I dabbled in various creative tasks. I drew, wrote songs in my head, and eventually started writing things down. I loved the effect of rhyme. Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein were the Greats of my time. Though I, regrettably, don’t draw as much as I used to I still write songs, sing and play, and, of course, write frequently.

Geneseo is only about forty-five minutes from where I live, in West Irondequoit, and I go home most weekends for band practice. Yesterday I dug up a portfolio behind my couch containing a hefty pile of artwork I made between the ages of ten and sixteen. Underneath was a thin folder containing poetry I wrote as a kid, most of them written at the age of eleven/twelve. Reading these rhyme-heavy, basic poems invoked feelings of nostalgia and embarrassment, and I loved every minute of it.

Here’s a poem entitled, “Circles,” which I apparently wrote April 28th, 2005 (I was eleven):


Circles are amazing shapes,

With no beginning and no end.

The shape of an orange or a grape,

Ovals always like to pretend.


As big as the colorful planets,

The size of an analog clock,

As small as a piece of granite,

And a perfect smooth silver rock.


The sun that shines with burning desire,

A freshly picked cherry from a tree,

The sparks that hurl from the fire,

And a golf ball that’s resting on a tree.


A circle can be big or small,

The shape of a china dish,

A circle is the coolest of all,

A circle is an endless wish.


I hope you laughed and cringed as much as I did reading that (especially at the ever-descriptive, “coolest of all”). Perhaps what I love most about finding these relics is their purpose as time-markers. I vaguely remember sitting down and writing this poem, thinking it was profound–maybe it was for an eleven-year-old (I do like “A circle is an endless wish,” as lofty as it is). I did the best with the vocabulary and knowledge I had at the time, and now I can appreciate these early attempts that serve as the foundation for my love of writing.

I want to read any childhood poems/other writing you guys have dug up, if you have any. Don’t let me suffer alone.

Workshop Community

One of my favorite parts of workshop is the community that gets built around that particular class. It’s an opportunity to see what other people are doing/trying out/thieving from other people. And because trust is so vital in a workshop (because offering up your baby to be critiqued is often painful), I find my peers in  upper-level workshops to be much closer than other classes. I think it’s important to be constantly in conversation with not only your texts, but those of your peers, and more established writers. I found our discussion on meter last class incredibly interesting and something I hadn’t really considered before. It’s also just great to see people get excited about poetry and see all the variety brought to the table–long-lined poems, short-lined poems, form poems, sectioned, white space, funky punctuation, etc.

After the poetic whirlwind, I noticed a lot of double colons and semi-colons in recent workshop poems and some poems shifting away from the left margin. I love that we’re constantly absorbing and taking things away from each other. It got me thinking about what I want to work on myself. For example, Romy’s short lined, compact poem makes me want to try and write one of those, Erin’s dirge made me start thinking about the form of elegies/dirges/etc., and Savannah’s resonant & lovely images have me thinking about the richness of my own images and how to better those.

How do you feel about the idea of workshop community? What things do you want to try after seeing what other people are doing?