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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Some Poems You can Write

The list poem is a great medium for imaginative freedom & concrete imagery.  There has to be a common element in the list, but it can be a capacious one. For example, "These foolish things (remind me of you)."  So you have "A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces / an airline ticket to exotic  places." The common element is that they are foolish things that remind me of you, but this common element is in the mind of the singer, not in the things themselves, and in a kind of associative, metonymic logic.  

Or "the way you sip your tea / the way you wear your hat."  Or "Things to do in Providence" (Ted Berrigan). Or Herrick's "The Argument of His Book." 

Little children can write list poems effectively. The tone can be anything you want, comic or serious.  The order of elements can be arbitrary & free, obeying only the invisible laws of the imagination. You can do a "chaotic enumeration" of elements, or tell an implicit story. There doesn't have to be anything dull about a catalogue.  


You can write a pantoum or another fixed form. One thing I've done is a villanelle without rhyme. It gives the feel of a pantoum, almost. 


You can get a really great title, and then try to write a poem using it. It should be a title that is misleading in its implications. So, you could take a title and interpret it too literally. Take Monk's "Brilliant Corners." How could a corner be brilliant?  Or you could make the poem unrelated to the title, totally metaphorically oblique.  

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