Joined: May 1st, 2010, 2:37 pm

May 1st, 2010, 4:09 pm #41

1.  Borrow title.   
2.  Borrowed phrase as epigraph or title
3.  Use borrowed line as first line of new poem     
4.  Weave phrases from other poem into new poem
5.  Parody
6.  Sonnenizio: start with iambic pentameter first line as first of 14 lines of pentameter, rhymed or not, each line containing at least one word from the first line.
7.  Rhymed couplet as basis for villanelle.  
8.  6 lines of blank verse as basis for sestina; or borrow end words.
9.  Acrostic (use letters of title or phrase as first or last letters of line)
10.  Wordcrostic (use words of text as first or last words of lines)  
11.  Retelling / paraphrase:   change diction, word differently; copy change
12.  2 unrhymed lines into rondel, triolet,  or other French form
13.   Answer another poem  
14.  Cento: mixture of lines from various poems
15.  Interspersed lines: rhymed couplets into quatrains, terza rima; blank verse into heroic couplets, unrhymed into couplets or triplets or terza rima; rhymed couplets into tetrameter into CM or ballad stanza; dimeter or trimeter into skeltonics (use slant rhymes for all)   [or intersperse and then cut orginal]; borrowed free verse lines into Ogden Nash-style couplets  
16.  Glosa (glose):  borrowed quatrain followed by 4 quatrains, each ending in a successive line of the borrowed quatrain.
17.  Pantoum on borrowed lines (type of cento)
18.  Sonnet using borrowed end rhymes
19.  "Psalm" re-echoing or rephrasing each line
20.  Homophonic translation: translate by sound, not sense; English to English works fine
21.  Antonymic translation: replace as many words as possible with words that somehow feel "opposite"
22.  Oulipo +7 variation: replace each important word with a nearby word in dictionary, usually same part of speech, number of syllables and rhythmic configuration

Joined: May 5th, 2006, 6:47 pm

May 1st, 2010, 4:45 pm #42

Esther, Thanks. These are great. Actually, in a sonnenizio, you're supposed to pick one word (from the first line) and use it in every single line of the poem. For example, the first sonnenizio -- what I think of as the prototype ("Sonnenizio on a line by Drayton") uses the word "part" in every line. I've seen a lot of them that don't follow this rule, though.
I think the sonnet using the borrowed end words is called bouts-rimes or Bouts-Rimés. We've used a similar exercise here in which you just take the end words from any poem (e.g., a free verse poem). I wrote one using the end words of a Billy Collins poem that I've always disliked (his "Litany," my "The Tool for the Task").

Joined: May 1st, 2010, 2:37 pm

May 2nd, 2010, 5:51 pm #43

Thanks, Toni.  That bit about the sonnenizio has long confused me.  I wrote one as a spark for poets.org and it was chosen as the best for that spark, but seeing other examples I did begin to wonder. 

Joined: May 5th, 2006, 6:47 pm

May 2nd, 2010, 6:30 pm #44

I took a class with Kim Addonizio and we wrote one in class -- which is why I'm so sure of myself!

Joined: May 5th, 2006, 6:47 pm

May 3rd, 2010, 9:50 pm #45

"Two-line Bantu (or Abantu)  poetry developed from the Bantu people of Africa (speakers of the Swahili, Kinyarwand, Kirundi, Zulu, Xhosa and other related languages). It arose from the oral tradition of “call and response.” In the rhythm of their work and perhaps in the spirit of a game or to relieve boredom, people would call out to each other. The first speaker called out a line that contained an image. A second speaker replied using a second image. This second image was meant to function as an elaboration or metaphor of the first.
1. It has two lines.
2. Each line contains an image.

3. The two images work together to form a metaphor.

4. Bantu don’t have titles.

5. There are no rules about rhyme, rhythm or line length.
What does a Bantu poem look like? Sheila Bender used the Bantu poetry prompt in classes she taught. Here are student samples from her book Writing Personal Poetry:
Wire hangers on a bar in the closet
Wild geese walking by a lake.

Children in a circle on the floor.

The beaded necklace.

Source: http://www.utmostchristia...articles/article3018.php
Last edited by toniclark on May 19th, 2010, 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: May 5th, 2006, 6:47 pm

May 19th, 2010, 9:47 am #46

Here's an exercise for describing images from one sense in terms of others.
http://www.unco.edu/poetry/jeffrey.lee/ ... thesia.htm

The following text is quoted from the above site. Text by Jeffrey Ethan Lee, PhD, MFA.

[updated 11/27/2004]

Synesthesia Writing Exercise

Part 1

Painters traditionally spend a great deal of time working with a palette of colors before they start painting. This is an important step in the process because the artist begins making decisions about the work in the process of creating the colors that will be used. Poets and writers have not traditionally spent time developing a “palette” of language before they start writing, but this is actually a great way to get started with writing or revising a work. The idea of this synesthesia exercise, below, is to help poets and writers create new “colors,” and these new “colors” can help them to realize other ways to see and hear and represent whatever their themes may be.

Start with an auditory phenomenon such as a piece of music, an environmental sound, or even a particular auditory environment such as a certain interior (or exterior) building space. Listen to the sound or sound environment while you are writing. Describe the auditory phenomenon as accurately as you can without using any auditory or sound-related words. That is, you must think about sound as though it were full of colors, temperatures, textures, scents, flavors, and even kinesthetic sensations. For example, one poet wrote a piece that transfigured sounds into the way one would dance to them; she “choreographed” the sound and made herself the “dancer.” Try to invent at least ten good lines for whatever you are describing.

Part 2
Start with a visual art work or any available visual phenomenon, and really look at it in terms of its components, its textures, its light-dark values, etc. Always keep the thing in front of you and/or in the forefront of your consciousness. Then describe the thing as accurately as you can but without using any visual words. You have to transfigure your visual ideas into sound, smell, touch, taste, and kinesthesia ideas. Try to invent at least ten good lines for whatever you are describing.

Part 3
Look over your best lines from both of the above and combine them into one poem about one thing (or a few related things).

(Suggestion: if you don't know what to write about, read over your synesthesia-inspired lines and see what they suggest to you. Try not to resist whatever direction the language takes you. It probably will want you to go in a certain direction, and there is probably a reason for that...)


Public Dreaming Variation

Someone said that the artist is like a public dreamer, i.e., the artist is one who dreams for the sake of the public. In this variation of the synesthesia exercise, first decide upon a dream that is vivid and meaningful to you. It could be one of your own dreams, the dream of someone you know, or even a famous dream that you read about in a psychology book or a work of art.

Second, write down the essential parts of the dream (the main images, the main “plot” if there is one, the primary sounds, colors, tastes, and any other sensory information). You can refer back to this as though it were an outline for what follows.

Third, take the most important visual elements of the dream and transfigure them into any or all of the other senses.

Fourth, you may repeat this process for all the auditory elements, and transfigure then into any or all of the other senses.

Fifth, you may repeat this process for any other important elements of the dream.

Sixth, remember that you can always go back later and add back in the essential visual and auditory elements if you need them!

Seventh, and finally, copy out the entire dream by hand from start to end at least three times and revise it until it makes a complete or “finished” draft.

Advisory: this exercise is HARD! And it will probably take you places that are strange and different for you even if you are an experienced writer. On the other hand, it may open up new avenues for you that are extraordinary and powerful, luminous in ways you have never dreamed you could imagine.




Joined: May 1st, 2010, 2:37 pm

August 17th, 2010, 8:51 am #47

This from Robert Lee Brewer's blog "Poetic Asides":
A few poets have asked me over the past year to write up something about the blitz
poem, which I'd never tried or even heard of before. So I did a little research, and
it actually looks pretty fun. It was created by Robert Keim and is a 50-line poem
of short phrases and images.

Here are the rules:

  • Line 1 should be one short phrase or image (like "build a boat")
  • Line 2 should be another short phrase or image using the same first word as the first
    word in Line 1 (something like "build a house")
  • Lines 3 and 4 should be short phrases or images using the last word of Line 2 as their
    first words (so Line 3 might be "house for sale" and Line 4 might be "house for rent")
  • Lines 5 and 6 should be short phrases or images using the last word of Line 4 as their
    first words, and so on until you've made it through 48 lines
  • Line 49 should be the last word of Line 48
  • Line 50 should be the last word of Line 47
  • The title of the poem should be three words long and follow this format: (first
    word of Line 3) (preposition or conjunction) (first word of line 47)
  • There should be no punctuation
There are a lot of rules, but it's a pretty simple and fun poem to write once you
get the hang of it.

Here's my (Brewer's) attempt:

"House of puddles"

Build a boat

Build a house

House for sale

House for rent

Rent to own

Rent a phone

Phone a friend

Phone home

Home alone

Home before bed

Bed and breakfast

Bed head

Head for cover

Head for the hills

Hills and valleys

Hills of gold

Gold rush

Gold for cash

Cash for gold

Cash that check

Check your messages

Check your back

Back in time

Back against the wall

Wall of noise

Wall fall down

Down with you

Down and out

Out and about

Out for the count

Count your blessings

Count the ways

Ways to live

Ways you smile

Smile and laugh

Smile like you mean it

It ain't no thang

It is what it is

Is it not

Is this poetry

Poetry is music

Poetry is love

Love your poetry

Love the rain

Rain falls down

Rain makes puddles

Puddles are wet

Puddles of love



Joined: May 5th, 2006, 6:47 pm

July 24th, 2011, 7:09 pm #48

This is an exercise I got from poet Maya Jewell Zeller (author of Rust Fish). It's inspired by Wallace Stevens's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

Pick a concrete object. You might begin by generating a list -- things around you or anything at all that comes to mind. Pick one and answer the following 13 questions:

1. What composes your object?

2. Tell us where it's been.

3. What is like your object?

4. What was in its company last?

5. Write about it using the word black or white.

6. Can it float?

7. What is around your object?

8. If you could ask your object a question, what would you ask?

9. What happened before it existed?

10. If you could put your hands on your object, what would you feel?

11. What sound does it make?

12. If it could speak, what would it say?

13. Describe it using a natural image.

After you've answered all the questions, here are some ways to work with the resulting material. 

-- Read through, select, cross out excess, rearrange.

-- Cut up list, put on pieces of paper. Draw and record randomly.

-- Let each answer serve s the title or first line of a poem of its own.

-- The Alberto Rios method: Start with the end and rewrite, moving up the list. You'll probably need to bend the syntax a bit to do this.

Joined: October 5th, 2006, 7:08 am

November 10th, 2012, 1:39 pm #49

Found this challenge so thought I would share it and then post its result in our Nov 30in30. Hope others will join me.

Challenge – the “I Am”


Three verses - the lines


I am

I wonder

I hear

I see

I want

repeat what you wrote for
line one


I wish

I feel

I touch

I worry

I cry

repeat L1V1



I understand

I pretend

I dream

I try

I hope

Repeat L1V1

Joined: June 13th, 2009, 7:40 pm

December 1st, 2012, 4:10 pm #50

Defunct site.  I deleted the link as it now leads to ads.
Last edited by piphany on May 8th, 2015, 8:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.