Poem Tryouts: Choose a Body Part

10 Sep

8:35 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to George Jones and Tammy Wynette singing We’re Gonna Hold On (followed by Queen and We Are the Champions — shuffle makes for interesting listening)

Hullo, all. I hope the beginning of your week is a quiet one. Today we have a fairly simple exercise. I first saw this particular repetition used by a fellow remixer, Patrick Seniuk, and am quite taken with its effect. The repetition is a structural one more than anything and, like most repetition, can be tricky.

The number of stanzas is open. The number of lines per stanza is open, although I don’t think short stanzas work as well, unless they are paired with longer stanzas.

Pick a body part: eyes, feet, hands, mouth… Each stanza will begin with the body part plus a verb. The verb provides the progression for whatever story you are telling, or scene you are describing.

My eyes skim…

My eyes track…

My eyes lament…

My eyes say goodnight…

You can see why you might need at least three stanzas. The pronoun is up to you. It can be anything, or none. Yes, you rebels, I’m getting to you. What if you want to use something that’s not a body part? Well, do so.

The car sped…

The car wove…

The car slowed…

The car turned turtle…   (I haven’t been awake long)

The body part is because that’s what the original poem uses. Sometimes it helps to be told something specific, but if you are feeling wild, choose a noun and a verb that provides progression. That’s it. I know. Seems too short and simple, doesn’t it? Go to it and I look forward, as always, to reading what you come up with.

I shall see you Thursday for links; Friday for the prompt roundup; and next Tuesday for a list of quotes to spark you.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 10/09/2013 in exercises, poetry


Tags: , ,

20 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Choose a Body Part

  1. julespaige

    10/09/2013 at 9:29 am

    OK …I’ve a been up since 3am – hubby’s alarm for out of town travel and stayed up to be ready for an early drop off of precious cargo…turns out I did write about a body part, well two hands and feet – perhaps not quite as you intended but it is a haibun 🙂 and I wrote it this morning…yep before your prompt.


    And yes I fully intend a nap when my little visitors leave! Cheers ~Jules

  2. Jeep Walters

    10/09/2013 at 10:55 am

    “I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and meself, and hope we passed the audition!” -John Lennon

    An interesting proposal – body part. As long as I find myself in “Beatles” mode, I chose hair:

    • margo roby

      10/09/2013 at 10:59 am

      If you’re in Beatles mode, you can choose anything your heart desires. I’m heading over.

  3. barbara_y

    10/09/2013 at 12:40 pm

    I’ll get right with this later. Until then

    • margo roby

      10/09/2013 at 12:49 pm

      I love the way you give me something to keep me happy while you ruminate [or wait ’til there’s time], Barbara.

  4. Hannah Gosselin

    10/09/2013 at 1:52 pm

    Yeah. Less is more sometimes, too, I think.

    Thank you, Margo…I’d never approached body parts this way before…Thinking of expressing another different part… :)’s to you!

  5. margo roby

    10/09/2013 at 2:02 pm

    Hannah, it took me a long time to learn how to write less. Now, I’m a huge fan of it. I’m not sure I can write long anymore!

    Go ahead and express as many parts as you wish 😉

  6. purplepeninportland

    13/09/2013 at 3:20 pm

  7. whimsygizmo

    14/09/2013 at 11:51 am

    • margo roby

      14/09/2013 at 12:03 pm

      I was late with my entire blog post! Must be that kind of week.


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