It’s Wednesday again, time for Write After Reading!
Write After Reading: Living the Life Poetic is a weekly online book club with poetry participation. It alternates between my blog and Susan Taylor Brown’s blog. Last week, we did Chapter 63: Taking Shape, Experimenting with Poetic Forms at Susan’s blog. Zip over there and take a read if you missed it.
This week, we’re talking about Chapter 71: Lists as Triggers. Poems using lists of predetermined words are such a fun puzzle! Centos are one form of this (see my cento that uses the titles of 23 children’s/ya poetry books here). And there are tons of other fun variations, like this fabulous paint chip poem by Julie Larios. The possibilities are endless.
In this chapter, I actually love "The Horse in the Drugstore," by Tess Gallagher. (Find it here if you don’t have the book to read along.) Usually, I like poems that make more "sense," in the traditional sense, but this scene captures me, amuses me, and mystifies me.
My favorite bit of this chapter: Think of a list poem as a linguistic obstacle course that challenges you to find new ways out of the old maze. Remember, in this case list poem refers to a poem that is inspired by a list of words, not a list poem in the way I usually use the term.
If you find you like this challenge, may I recommend Sandford Lyne’s book, Writing Poetry From the Inside Out? It includes an appendix of word groups (each having 4 words), somewhere between 700 and 1000 of them. His groupings tend to include more easily connect-able words than the six that Gallagher was challenged with.
For our exercise this week, let’s write a word list poem. Either use the six words from Gallagher’s poem:
Or use one of these four-word groups from Lyne’s book:
Can’t wait to see what we come up with this week! And feel free to share a poem you’ve written previously based on a word list, too, or your thoughts on the experience of trying this kind of poem.