Writing Exercise: The Image in Succession

francine j. harris’ poem “what you’d find buried in the dirt under charles f. kettering sr. high school” depicts exactly what it says it will in the title, and shows the debris and remnants of student life at a Detroit high school, presented as a series of images in a stream-of-consciousness delivery that almost overloads the reader with the sheer amount of objects and the histories and implications that each of those objects carries. Try to imitate harris in delivering a surplus of images – how can we present a multiplicity of objects or ideas and maintain coherence within that excess? How can we create a linking narrative between images without becoming caught up in any particular image? This exercise can be done with ideas or events serving as the image, but push yourself to try for tangible objects. If you need help starting, look for ten objects that you could hold in your hands in the book you are following and describe the context in which they might all be found together, and proceed from there.

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