Thursday, 28 February 2013

il était une fois

08:00:00 Posted by Damp incendiary device , , , , , , , 2 comments

Following on from the fantastic workshop on Saturday (at Blackpool Library), I thought I would share one of the exercises from the session.  The aim is that by following the instructions step by step you will have, in a short time, a cracking fairytale poem of which you can be proud.  This worked really well this weekend and I was incredibly impressed with the results.  I'm excited to hear the poets performing them tomorrow.

Fairytale Poem in Seven Simple Steps

Poppy: Red Riding Hood
Scissors: Rapunzel
Bone: Hansel and Gretel
Key: Bluebeard
Sock: Emperor’s New Clothes
Beans: Jack and the Beanstalk
Pile of ash: Cinderella
Gold thread: Rumpelstiltskin
Wooden needle: Sleeping Beauty

1) Choose an object from the list above.  The corresponding character/story is the subject of your poem.  Take 5 minutes to come up with as many likenesses for that object as you can, e.g. poppy = flame, scissors = bird, bone = flute etc.

2) Write two lines of poetry, with eight syllables in each, to describe your main character in relation to the object.  Rhyming is optional.  Eg. you might have Red picking the flowers or the witch sharpening the scissors.

3) Take a scene from the story and write three examples of sensations you might encounter there, e.g. If your scene involves Sleeping Beauty encountering the wicked fairy at the spinning wheel:
A smell – e.g. fresh linen, damp forest, boiled sweets
A sound – e.g. creaking wood, birds outside, her heartbeat
A texture – e.g. coarse wool, polished wood, stone walls
A taste – e.g. metallic air, honey, blood
A sight – e.g. skeins of thread, open window, stone floor

4) Write two lines of poetry, with eight syllables in each, using the same scene from your story, and including some of the elements you’ve imagined above.

5) Stories and poems which include strong visual imagery are more likely to be retained by the reader.  Use visualisation to put yourself in the scene and make it vivid for yourself.  If you can see what you’re describing you’re more likely to be able to make it clear for the readers.

  • Imagining the scene from your story, what is the strongest emotion?
  • Think of an animal/element to represent that emotion
  • Place that animal/element in a scene of its own
  • Think of an action for that animal/element to carry out

6) Write four lines of poetry with eight syllables in each line following the pattern:

Line 1: Character and emotion
Line 2: Animal/element
Line 3: Scene/background
Line 4: Action

7) Return to the object.  Write two lines with eight syllables to describe the object again but reflecting on what’s happened in the scene, e.g. the flower might have fallen to the ground or the key be stained with blood.

You should be left with a ten line poem.  This exercise can take between 15 minutes and several hours depending on how much time you want to spend on the imaginative exercises and re-writing.  Have fun with it, play with it.  Share it.

The Dead Good Poets are meeting at 6pm at the No5 Cafe, Cedar Square, Blackpool.  It's a family friendly evening on the theme of children's poetry.  As usual, it's open mic and all are welcome to read.  We'd be delighted if you would join us.



Anonymous said...

Love this exercise.

The workshop was enormous fun and that 's what inspired me to write my poem which will be posted here on Saturday.


Lisa McFleeca said...

Fully plan to have a go at this in the morning (head was far too firmly up my butt today) but it looks really interesting! Sounds like your recent workshops have been a rousing success... Good for you Vicky :-D

L x