The Poet at Play 1


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.

Emotions bones
Thought outlines
Soul Music
Me

Me
Music
Soul outlines
thought bones

Then these lines emerge as another starting point.

The music of me
In outlines

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
In outlines
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)

Peace

Ripple Poetry

Photo By Ken Bosma Flickr

Peace, like Giant Saguaro Cactus,
Took fifty years before flowering hope
Just night and green morning
Over quickly
Then flowers came out again

Again out came flowers then
Quickly over morning green and night
Just hope flowering before years fifty
Took cactus Saguaro Giant
Like peace.

By June Perkins

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Beckoning Autumn

Magic Fish Dreaming

Collin Key Flickr Woman walking with her dog through an autumn landscape

Come burnt orange

golden yellow and burnished red

leaves.

Bring us

relief from heat waves

and air conditioners.

Remember my light red jumper

and favouriteboots

They’re out once more.

Loosen your leaves

to reveal sculptural trees

on the hillsides.

Let the fading days of summer

whisper listening toautumn jazz

with a milo.

By June Perkins

An Invitation Poem

This poetry idea is based on ideas in Barbara Esbensen’sbook A Celebration of Bees: Helping Children Write Poetry

You write a poem like this when you want something to happen, like a season, event or a birthday party.

Published on Australian Children’s Poetry

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Beyond Prejudice

Shirren Lim, Flickr

I refuse to see myself
through your eyes
to let your lens
become my disguise.
I won’t give in
to its stereotype.
I won’t become your lie.
My wish for freedom
will not die.

You strip me back
to my bones
classify me
by skin tones.
I am more than my skin;
If you look deeper
you could be kin.
I cut you adrift
deflect the hurt
you sought to give
so I can simply live.

After I have healed
from your slight
I send out a light
to shade us both.

I won’t become your lie.
My wish for freedom
will not die.

(c) June Perkins