I haven’t touched on poetry much in this blog so far, and I would like to remedy that. One of my favorite ways to write a poem is what I like to call The “Olds Exercise” named from the Author Sharon Olds. In one of her books she describes a very unique way of writing poetry. Not only as an exercise but those poems that you write could be tweaked into some pretty cool stuff.
The basic idea of this way of writing is to think outside the box. Take 7-12 random words; you can randomly flip through a dictionary or thesaurus or ask a friend (or multiple friends) to give you words. You must include EVERY word in the poem, and make it mean something. You don’t have to use all of the words in the order they were given, either.
Words given: vivacious, fossa, nuzzling, wink, diminish, monomorphic , inflection, Morgan le Fay, quibble, sotto voce, osmotic, yowl
There’s a little place on the back of your neck
that you keep hidden behind tangles,
golden curtains of soft, lucid tresses
an inflection where you carry all your secrets
In that spot you won’t let anyone touch
(A fossa only lovers will know)
I can see a whisper nuzzling its way
through the cooling pours of your skin
and tiny streams of sweat wink
at strands of hair in their way
as if to say, “we know this cryptic code;
but we swore
we wouldn’t tell”
The voices mock the wind—even it can’t stroke the nape of your neck
despite its osmotic tendencies
Soon it, too, will diminish itself, give in
and return to the hand of Morgan le Fay
where it will quibble
and force the curtain of fibers back from their shadow
in a monomorphic snapshot of purity—
away from a vivacious laugh
because you know the enigma still stands
Still, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear your hair up.
I started back in High School to write ALL of my poetry like this. It gives it a little more edge, makes you take that extra step to reach for a metaphor or simile, or forces you to wrap your idea around something in a way you never would have before. Try it! It’s easy and surprisingly a LOT of fun. Feel free to post your results here or shoot them to me in an email!