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Priming the Poetry Pump

I have 3 private writing students now and they are working on poetry. This doesn't come naturally for any of them, but what they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm! They are having a difficult time moving past prose to poetry. Poetry isn't telling a story with fancy words.

In fact, words themselves are a problem. Their word reservoirs are fairly shallow. The solution isn't to require them to memorize vocabulary words, but to present them with random lists of words and phrases from which they are to create a poem. I've discovered that this is an excellent way to stimulate poetic imagination while building vocabulary. Now and then a poem of fine quality is produced, or one nearly ready for publication.

You may want to try this at home. If so, here is a sample list.

cornered and caged
pink prom flowers
feverish brain
warp speed
unfailing youth
tagging along
spreading silence
peace forseen
tortuous path
mocking sign
hung out to dry
derailed affair
corrosive speech
broken bones

I'm interested in reading what you come up with. Email me your best work here:


No, you should not attempt to use all these words! Use those that suggest an image and develop the image.
poetreader said…
Understood. I simply felt intrigued enough to make the attempt, and sent you one like that. It was fun.

Obviously that wasn't your intent, and I hope no one was misled to think that it was.


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