Tuesday Tryout: Imagistic Poems

04 Jan

9:18 am, Tuesday, 4 January, 2011 – Atlanta

We spent so many days on sensory imagery that now it’s time to give you a few exercises  that will let you play with images in the framework of a poem, if you have not already.


Some questions attempt to make you put a specific image to an abstract image, some questions will result in synesthesia…a mixing of the senses.

What does red smell like?
What does the sea sound like?
What does the sun taste like?
What does chocolate sound like?
What does love look like?
What does winter smell like?
What do clouds taste like?
What does swimming feel like?
What does beauty feel like?
What does danger sound like?
What does black taste like?
What does pain smell like?
What does happiness look like?
What does hot smell like?
What does cold sound like?

Answer these questions. There is no right or wrong answer.  Don’t worry about sense. This is a good exercise for coming up with fresh imagery, imagery that might show the reader more precisely the truth of something.

Although all poems are built with images and words, poems that depend almost exclusively on image are called “imagistic poems.”

By Elizabeth Searle Lamb

onto her body
in the ditch
white butterflies.

by Leo Romero

For miles no one
just the clay road
the rain
the swerving car
the adoring houses
gathering about the church.


Using your collection of images, write one or more poems.

You may add as many other words as you need to make the poem work.

You may use punctuation or you may (as in the examples) let the line breaks serve as punctuation.

Try to write at least twenty lines of poetry–in one poem or in a collection of smaller poems.

Incorporate synesthesia, if it works.

Much of the writing for this month’s river of stones is imagistic. For more examples check it out or wander over to my other blog, Random Stones. Imagery is not something that comes easily to me, so I am using the month to practice writing sensory images.

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Posted by on 04/01/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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