Modified Exercise I Should Have Posted A Month Ago

Hi friends!

So if you haven’t yet looked at the poems being workshopped tomorrow (or if you’re on your game, try to do this for the ones being workshopped next week), it might be fun to try this exercise. Try not to look at the poem, not even the format of it on the page, and read the poetic statement. As you read the poetic statement, jot down 3 or 4 things you are expecting of this poem, maybe it’s content related, a structure you think lends really well to what the poet is speaking of, or a question you expect to be answered by the poem. Then, read the poem and see how it aligns with your thinking. By doing this, we are completely eliminating the possibility of the poem itself swaying our views of what it should accomplish, and might even allow us to give more objective advice for revisions.

For an extra challenge, try and write a few lines of the type of poem you expect after reading the poetic statement and compare that to what the poet has actually written.

See you all in the morning! 🙂

2 Replies to “Modified Exercise I Should Have Posted A Month Ago”

  1. I love this idea. My writing style is often best defined as, “type and see what happens,” so I particularly like your suggestion of writing a few lines of your own based on another’s poetic statement. Not only does that force you to clarify how we interpret the poetic statement individually (which could be SO helpful for the person getting workshopped), but it also forces you to approach a poem with big picture in mind–something I am absolutely horrible at, even when the big picture is my own. Thanks for this! I think I’ll use it as a warm-up during frenzied revision time this week.

  2. Codie,

    This is a really awesome exercise that I feel like could be expanded even more. One could take the poetic statements of other poets and attempt to write a poem that agrees with that poetic statement (maybe from an anthology like Lyric Post-Modernisms, maybe from one’s favorite poet, from one’s least favorite poet, or most interestingly, from a poet one has never read before). The poem will essentially be very different from what one might normally write in accordance to his/her own statement, but at the same time, can we ever completely separate ourselves from our writing? It could create some really awesome “fusion” poems that push our own writing beyond where we thought it could go. I’m going to try this. Thank you!


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