Read the full post here
Today’s poetry resource is Entropy’s “Where to Submit” page.
Our prompt for today is one that we have used in past years, but which I love to come back to, because it so often takes me to new and unusual places, and results in fantastic poems. It’s called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. The challenge is to use/do all of the following in the same poem. Of course, if you can’t fit all twenty projects into your poem, or a few of them get your poem going, that is just fine too!
- Begin the poem with a metaphor.
- Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
- Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
- Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
- Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
- Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
- Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
- Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
- Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
- Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
- Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
- Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
- Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
- Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
- Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
- Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
- Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
- Use a phrase from a language other than English.
- Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
- Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.
I read the poem from the participant site – it captured a lot of story.
I know the poetry resource fairly well and have not submitted for a while (a long while) so I was tempted to check the updates, but today I was offline a lot – and have a few projects on the go so looking for submissions is not at the top of my list at the moment.
I dislike this prompt – yes we had an argument, followed by a fight. I was okay on a few of the prompts but writing to 20 felt like pulling teeth (with deepest apologies to Jim Simmerman). I know we weren’t asked to use all 20, that the prompts are optional (I like a challenge) but this felt like questions from an exam paper fired out in random order and that unhelpful, self-created analogy made my creative mind stop working!
It took hours and by the end of it I did have what you can at best call a surreal poetry attempt. I went back to the drawing board and snipped lines out. Some of the relics look like, with a bit of a spit and polish they could shine.
There were elements I enjoyed – finding dialect vocabulary, revising my grammatical knowledge and writing in an unspoken-by-me language. What was created could become a children’s book but I am not convinced my list of random acts and thoughts builds a poem.
I had a good strong endline/concept in places and to prove the ‘it’s not you (Jim), it’s me’ – I have read some really good examples of Day 5 poetry across the internet.
It was an experience!