Thursday, 17 January 2013

Splintered Snow

08:30:00 Posted by Damp incendiary device , , , , , , , , , 9 comments

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination.”
― William Faulkner

Not wanting to emulate a certain poetic cuckoo (meta-emulation?), I will credit David Riley with the idea for this exercise.  He put me on to the Faulkner quote and I believe he was inspired by a workshop he had himself attended.  Good ideas are like the rabbits of the metaphysical world.

This exercise is intended to help you to turn your observations into kick ass poetry.  If you follow the steps with due diligence you are sure to end up with some shiny words.  

1) Choose an object.  This can be anything you can see with your eyes at this moment, e.g. the Sun, a yoghurt pot, a train, a painting, your left hand.

2) Observe the object as it is right now.  Make note of the following:

  • colour, detail - texture, shape
  • setting, surroundings
  • season, time, light/shadow
  • movement or action
  • sound
3) Consider your experiences of this object. What do you recognise?  What does it remind you of?  What is it similar to?  
4) Imagine.  What might happen to the object? What is it thinking? What might you do to the object?

5) Shape the words.  Let's write renga!  Using the table below, create a poem in the Japanese renga style.

Syllables/sound units
Observation – e.g. colour, shape
Observation – e.g. setting, time
Observation – e.g. light, sound

Here is my attempt:

Pencil Shaving

Torn sycamore fan 
Sleeps in desk's twilight clutter 
White screen, hum of fan

Shrinking tree-snake's rough skin sloughed 
Blown away like splintered snow

OK - take it away poets.  Write me some renga!



Ashley R Lister said...

Samsung Galaxy SII

Shiny, sleek, glossy
Dominating dusty desk
All bells and whistles

My faithful phallic smartphone
Tomorrow's redundant crap.

vicky ellis said...

The Dead Good Poets feature on altblackpool today :-)

Ash, your phone is phallic? You need an engineer or a doctor. And don't carry it in the pocket of tight jeans, just in case.

Ashley R Lister said...

My phone is very phallic. I hold it in my hand and fiddle with it whenever I get the chance.

Isn't that the epitome of all things phallic?

vicky ellis said...

So penis envy is replaced by phone envy?

Wordrabbit said...

Black, rectangle, box
Throwing out images
That touch my nose
But only with the glasses on
Prometheus is still shit.

Lisa McFleeca said...

I'm concerned - I've seen your phone Ash and I would suggest that you no longer delay that psychiatric help you've been needing...

In the mean time I had a go.

Painting of a couple watching the sunset at Golden Gate Bridge.

Scene in sunset hue
Mounted to remain in view.
Warmth in my winter,
Bought to bring hope to the dark,
Doorway to a fantasy.

vicky ellis said...

It's an odd effect but the word mounted is incredibly strong in this poem. The rest of the poem is tranportative and visual but that word...It might be me but it adds a rugged background with horses.

If it had a different title I think you could use it to describe a different scene with much of the detail resting on that single word.

Lisa McFleeca said...

I see what you mean - it was hard to balance - the picture is quite bold, although the scene is soft and romantic. I'm definitely using this exercise again though, I love it! :)

vicky ellis said...

Great :)

I'm looking forward to trying your exercise tomorrow x