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Tag Archives: Free verse

Thursday Thoughts: Freeverse + Freewriting

9:57 a.m. — Walnut Creek

Hello, gang. We have a reader suggestion today, from Viv: a discussion of freewriting, to which I added free verse, as there are people who confuse the two.

First, let’s deal with free verse. It’s not free. What the people who coined the term meant was free of metre and end rhyme. Everything else that goes into writing a strong poem still comes into play and, because we have taken metre and end rhymes out, we have to be more conscious of where we break the lines and of internal rhyme. And, the poem still needs a rhythm that works. Hmmm. I’m beginning to think we should rename it. If you missed the post on free verse over at One Stop Poetry it’s well-worth visiting and reading. An excellent essay on free verse.

Freewriting is free of all constraints. It is a strategy that works for many people [not me…sigh] either as a kickstart or a restart. When I began my blog last year, I wrote about it. Here, updated, is what I said:

Almost any writer on writing will tell you: write write write do not stop write do not edit write do not stop write write write. The problem most of us have is that we have a self-censor sitting on one of our shoulders. This censor says That sounds silly. That’s not grammatical. What kind of syntax is that? Did you put a comma in there? Did you spell that long word correctly? What kind of image is that? It doesn’t make sense. Enough of that and you will talk yourself into not writing.

If your mind goes blank because you are trying so hard not to self-censor, or your mind just goes blank, don’t stop. Keep writing the last word you wrote over and over again. Your brain won’t like that and will kick back in. The surrealist writers believed that they had to reach a state beyond reality in order to find and write that which is true. What we call freewriting developed from them.

Ideally you want to write several pages without stopping. If you can do that you will find when you go back through that your mind and hand have taken you down many paths. You can choose one of the paths to follow knowingly, or choose words and phrases that speak to you and pull them out as a seed to a possible poem.

Rather than setting a time, I have found it easier to set yourself a number of pages. If you have never done this before, start with two pages and write. If it will help, pick a topic, but then don’t worry or panic if you notice that instead of writing about whales, you are writing about hot air balloons. Your brain made some kind of connection. Go with it. It may take you wondrous places.

Things not to worry about: grammar, spelling, sense, punctuation. That can all come later. Use what you are most comfortable with: computer, pen, pencil. Above all: if handwriting, do not stop the movement of your hand. Studies have found a direct correlation with the movement of the hand and creativity. Computer people, don’t panic. While the creative process works differently, these studies do not mean you have to change your modus operandi. When freewriting if you hit a stop point hit any key and keep it up until your brain starts again.

The object of freewriting is not to come up with a poem but to loosen the creative juices; if you get a poem from the process = bonus.

Remember: You need to write before you can write well. You need to have written something before you can worry about revision. You have to write before you can craft.

Let’s start with that and if you want me to address a specific aspect, ask. I can already see a couple of areas we can delve into further, but this post is long enough.

I will see you tomorrow for the week’s roundup of prompts; Tuesday for the next form; and next Thursday is open so far. If anyone has a suggestion, an idea they want me to discourse on, please let me know. Writing on reader generated topics has quickly become something I look forward to working on. Thank you, Viv, for this one.

Happy writing all.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on 14/07/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Tuesday Tryouts: Something Old, Something New

9:50 a.m. — Walnut Creek

Hello, dear readers. I am a trifle late, but was hoping the fuzziness enveloping my brain would disappear. Woke up with a migraine and am now feeling quite lightheaded. As a result you get another week’s grace before I toss you in the deepend with the next form, because I need a fully working brain to explain it.

Short and sweet:

Jot down four lists: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Try for at least six items per category. Remember that you can be metaphorical as well as literal. You can be as creative and imaginative and as out of the box as you would like.

Take one item from each list and use the four in a poem. Allow the four to suggest your focus. Write in free verse or start shifting back into form mode by using one of the ones we have gone over in the past few weeks, or another form that you know.

If you wonder ‘Can I?’ The answer is ‘Yes’.

Remember to post a link so I, and others, can enjoy your poem. I shall see you Thursday for thoughts on freewriting and free verse; Friday, for the roundup; and next Tuesday, when, hopefully, I shall present you another form.

Happy writing, all.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on 12/07/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Tuesday Tryouts: Poems on Things That are Found

9:00 a.m. — San Antonio –> Walnut Creek

Hello dear readers. Tell me you didn’t see that coming! I was going to wait a week and throw you off balance but for the life of me can’t remember the exercise I was going to do this week, so found items it is. The exercise runs the same, but found includes a whole branch of poetry.

FOUND

Start by thinking about and then listing all the things you have found in your life. Leave room for notes with each item. You can do a companion piece to your lost poem, but make the list anyway. We are always on the lookout for topics to write on, so, resource pool! Possibilities include, a pet who was missing, a new word, a friend, your way [can be literal or figurative], an opportunity, an insight, a branch of the family tree, something you thought was lost.

Next to each find jot notes on what you remember. Try to include as many concrete and sensory details as you can.

Then, jot notes on any feelings and emotions you associate with each find.

Pick one from your list of things found. Decide whether you want to write in free verse or one of the forms we have been playing with or, indeed, a form you like but we haven’t played with yet. Choose the point of view — will the speaker speak in first or third person? The choice affects how the poem comes across, so you might choose one and mentally try the other once you have a draft. Consider whether you wish to include feelings, or just tell the story. Decide on the speaker’s tone: happy, ecstatic, tongue in cheek, humourous…your word choice will support the tone. And, if you don’t remember the whole story, make up whatever you need to convey the story you want to tell.

Then we have found poetry, poetry found in words already written [the most common form], or a photograph, or a painting, or a piece of music [no words]. Rather than make this post longer, if that interests I have given you links to the posts where I went over approaches to found poetry. I tried to give you the start of each and if you are still interested then keep moving forward in posts. I have the found poetry running over several days. If you aren’t, for some technological reason I have not thought of, able to access any pages, let me know.

Write and then post so we can read the results.

If you have questions do ask; if you think someone would enjoy this, click on the buttons below.

I shall see you on Thursday for another reader suggested topic: enjambment; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for…yes, another open prompt. Ta dah! I know! What is with me? Don’t get used to it.

Happy writing all.

 
30 Comments

Posted by on 28/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Tuesday Tryouts: Poems on Things That are Lost

9:00 a.m. — San Antonio

Hello dear readers. I promised you an open prompt this week, which means you get to choose the form, whether it is free verse, or a more structured form. For those who have been assuming free verse is free: Hah!

While free verse is my usual format, in many ways that choice provides more difficulties, because when I am not choosing a standard form, I do need to consider the structure of the poem. Forms, such as those we have played with in the past few weeks, take a lot of thinking out of the equation, because the form tells us how to structure the poem. We can concentrate on other aspects. With free verse we have to come up with our own structure to support our content, as well as all the other things that make a poem.

Didn’t know you were going to get a mini-lecture thrown in did you? On to the prompt!

LOST

Start by thinking about and then listing all the things you have lost. Leave room for notes with each item. Consider things like a memory, a tooth, keys, a friend, your direction [can be literal or figurative], an opportunity, a close relative. What other things have you lost? Or, in a wider, more abstract view, what has been lost to your generation, or town, or country? Plenty of possibilities.

Next to each loss jot notes on what you remember. Try to include as many concrete and sensory details as you can.

Then, jot notes on any feelings and emotions you associate with each loss.

Pick one from your list of things lost. Decide whether you want to write in free verse or one of the forms we have been playing with or, indeed, a form you like but we haven’t played with yet. Choose the point of view — will the speaker speak in first or third person? The choice affects how the poem comes across, so you might choose one and mentally try the other once you have a draft. Consider whether you wish to include feelings, or just tell the story. Decide on the speaker’s tone: sad, angry, tongue in cheek, humourous…your word choice will support the tone. And, if you don’t remember the whole story, make up whatever you need to convey the story you want to tell.

Write and then post so we can read the results.

If you have questions do ask; if you think someone would enjoy this, click on the buttons below.

I shall see you on Thursday for a reader suggested topic: the poetic inversion; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for…yes, another open prompt [I know what’s coming down the pike with forms, so I’m lulling you].

Happy writing all.

 
41 Comments

Posted by on 21/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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