If you don’t like knowing the secrets to conjuring tricks read no further. But if you like to have an insight into how to do them then you will like this series, the poet at play.
In this series I explore how the poet, and creative writer can make their words more powerfully appear on the page, and their metaphors more astounding.
It’s about ways of pushing beyond the boundaries of a cliche, and the obvious. It’s based on the belief that EVERYONE can potentially make their words salsa, waltz or tango or do the cultural dance of their origins or liking.
I’ll introduce you to some of the text books I like to work with, and some of the things I have found that work for me through my own personal reading, practice and study.
This week, I am working hard on new poetry for competitions and submissions.
I have two metaphors that have been preoccupying me for a couple of weeks. They simply won’t go away. I even had a vivid dream based on one of them last night!
I have put preliminary words down on paper. Now I am faced with the task of playing with them until they become fully formed poems. As part of this process, I am doing some creative writing exercises from Hazel’s Smith’s The Writing Experiment.
I spent nearly two hours reworking two ideas, and these may turn into two poems or a suite of poems.
I loved particularly Smith’s exercises on additions and substitutions, which were my main focus of this first experimenting stint.
Whilst I can’t share the new poems, I thought I would demonstrate how some of the techniques from Smith’s book might work on poems I have already shared on this blog. Applying some of the techniques of Smith to past poems, here is what might happen to ‘You strip me back to the bones’ Beyond Prejudice where I substitute a new word for bones.
You strip me back to the bones
You strip me back to raw emotion
You strip me back to my outlines
You strip me back to my thoughts
You strip me back to my music
You strip me back to my soul
You strip me back to me
After I have done one of these experiments I can then do some of my own work and strip away the repetition and rework again. I pull out these words: emotion, bones, outlines, thoughts, music, soul, me.
A short poem emerges.
Then these lines emerge as another starting point.
The music of me
And looking at ‘I refuse to see myself through your eyes’ from the same poem – and I continue the process as just outlined to discover new lines.
I refuse to feel myself through your hands
I refuse to hear myself through your music
I refuse to move to your expectations
But I stop because now I can mix the ‘music of me’ with some of the experiments just done, into the beginnings of a new poem,
The music of me
you refuse to hear
You think you strip me back to my music
You think you strip me back to my soul
You think you strip me back to me
But I refuse
to feel myself through your hands
to hear myself through your music
to move to your expectations
(c) June Perkins (This series to be continued)
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