For this exercise, you take a poem from your follow a book, or an old poem of your own, and make a word bank with all of the words in the poem. (This part takes a little bit of time, but is worth it!) Once you have that, you write an entirely new poem using only those words, trying to construct a different or new image than the one in the original poem. This is helpful to look at the original image in a new way, and create something that says more of what you intended. It’s also helpful if you, like me, tend to be overly wordy in your poems–with this word-bank, you’ll see all the the‘s and and’s that you use, and cutting those out can help clarify the image of the poem even more. It’s also a great way of radically revising a poem if you feel stuck with revisions!
You can be as careful as you want with staying close to the original, but you can always leave out words, add a few new ones, or change tenses of verbs to fit the poem as you go.