Tuesday Tryouts: Try This

15 Feb

8:01 am, Tuesday, 15 February, 2011 – Atlanta

I did not plan this. It is a coincidence that we end up with an exercise to do with love, this week of all weeks. I have my exercises in an order, and so it goes. I considered shifting it to next week, but it’s not quite so tidy, so I will give you an option.

1] LOVE. Think of someone/something you love. It can be a person, someone you know, or don’t – think movie star, or singer, world leader…remember that love has many definitions and they aren’t all the hearts and flowers kind. Think friendships, family, platonic…It can be about your favourite food, place, song, pet. Anything, but read the rules below.

Take six minutes. Freewrite about your love for it WITHOUT using terms of endearment, or the word love/like/adore/or any other abstract synonym. This is trickier than it sounds, but can result in a strong poem.

Stroke/Rewrite as poem.


2] List as many sport’s terms as you can. Use as many sports metaphors [run with, strike out, hit the mark, team player, foul] as you can to describe an experience such as shopping, or an evening out.

Then describe the same experience, replacing the sports metaphors with another category such as dance [side-stepping, waltzing, leading, following, leaping] or food [digest, half-baked, gel, stew, meaty, fishy], after first listing as many terms as you associate with your chosen category.

Or, describe yourself as a writer in terms of a particular sport [or metaphor of your choice].

I know: these are both difficult. I figure you have reached the point, those who are new writers, to take on something more challenging. Those who are more seasoned writers can play. Do both. Metaphor is fun.

Bonus: A poem by Sylvia Plath, titled “Metaphors”. Those who don’t know this poem, every line is a metaphor, as is the whole poem. Everything adds up.


I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.

Sylvia Plath

Please do post a link in the comments if you write a poem from these exercises. I love to see the results that grow out of the exercises I set.

See you Thursday, with a poem in hand, preferably one of the metaphor poems, to start a series of posts on revision.

All images from OCAL


Posted by on 15/02/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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5 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts: Try This

  1. pamela

    16/02/2011 at 4:38 pm

    A very interesting exercise.
    I think I’ll be joining in.
    I love Sylvia’s poem.

  2. margo roby

    16/02/2011 at 4:44 pm

    Glad to hear it! Every Tuesday a new exercise and I love to know writers are trying them.

  3. pamela

    18/02/2011 at 3:09 pm

    I am close to having a poem, but
    it has not turned into a love poem.
    Do I post here?

    • margo roby

      18/02/2011 at 3:13 pm

      Yay! I promise you I have no problem with your not having a love poem. I am happy you have a poem. Absolutely, post here. I haven’t been able to persuade readers to do so, despite knowing I have a regular group. You will make this writer very happy to see a result from one of her exercises. Post away when you are ready.

  4. pamela

    19/02/2011 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Margo,
    Here it is as promised.
    It did have a strange result.


Join the discussion and feel free to critique, or suggest an idea for any poem I post.

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