Exercise for Week Three – Poetry

First, read the article on poetry.Then do the following:

        This exercise was inspired by something the singer/songwriter Tom Waits once said – that he really likes: ‘songs that have the names of cities in them, and food, and weather.’

        Write a flow of words that contains the names of at least two cities [which will require you to “visit” them in your mind and record some kind of word-snapshots.] and then, in the same piece, talk about the weather at least once, and some kind of food.And never think about the logic.Just do it.Let the words flow.They don’t even have to be sentences.Only break them into lines that signify how you might say them if you were just relaxing and talking.Be aware of the cadences that the words make, and let this help you decide where to end one line and begin another.


        Before you begin, notice what has just happened. Your left brain has gotten immediately tricked into going along because the exercise begins with a set of instructions. Your left brain loves instructions.So right away it goes along with the routine.When you follow the instructions, your right brain gets turned loose, and off you swim, making nonsensical juxtapositions of probably unrelated recollections, seeing images and forming them into words, remembering places you have been, traveling mentally to places you may not have visited in your life experiences. And as you follow the instructions, you will immediately cast off the impulse to be sensible, and you will be writing poetry.You don’t have to swim out to the deep part of the lake.Just wade around and flutter your hands in the ripples, and get yourself wet.

        The thing is to just do the exercise.Don’t even worry about writing sentences or making sense.Look at what you wrote later and try to find the meaning, and even then, don’t worry if your left brain can’t make complete sense of it. Just remember how satisfying it was to do it.