Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Poetry Exercise #1: Headlines

Lots of times it's hard to get started writing a poem. There are so many possiblities, and a lot of times I resort to writing autobiographically about events I remember. There's nothing wrong with confessional poems, some of my favorites are in that mode (like Plath or Berryman). But, sometimes you want to get our of yourself, so here's an exercise: Find a newspaper or magazine headline and use it as the title of the poem. Let this title influence how you start, perhaps as the spur for a fictional narrative or maybe it hits a feeling or topic you're interested in, like tragic love or trying to keep faith in something. The point is bringing something outside yourself and using it to jump start your own work. Here's a few examples I got from the Washington Post's story on cheesy magazine cover questions: What is spacetime? Will Humans Last Another 10,000 Years? Who's naughtier in bed: men or women? Just a Headache . . . Or Worse? Let me know how these exercises work out for you all, or suggest some more in the comments section!

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