Eye on the form…

Poetry class (part two)

Writers huddled around jig-sawed tables, bone china cups and pots of tea at the ready, this week’s poetry/creative writing class was all set to go on Tuesday evening at the Hope & Gloria Emporium. Creativity was waiting to be unleashed…

I say that but, what I love about this class is also what frustrates me at times – trying to think more abstractly to avoid using easy cliches (more or less on the spot) and thus coming up with some fairly random but beautiful lines of writing. Practice however, makes perfect and although I personally find it more difficult to come up with brilliant lines within a few minutes, it definitely helps stimulate a more thoughtful way of writing.

Our first exercise eased us into the process as we composed descriptions linked to different words presented by our poet guru, El Gruer. Take the word ‘desperation’ for example and write down a scenario which this image conjures up in your mind. After doing seven of these, we then chose our favourite three, the idea being that evoking an image of something can convey the meaning of the word you have in mind and paint a richer and more interesting picture of what you’re trying to see than by simply using that one word.

The difficulties came with the synonyms which followed… e.g. ‘A spider on an old man’s beard is like…’ (Fill in as you see fit. I won’t tell you mine!) They were purposefully random but inspirational, the point being again, to induce thinking of a more imaginative kind. To think of phrasing words differently to catch the reader’s attention. e.g. Knotted wood on a bannister is like muscles taut over bone.’

We also had some fun picking two objects from the shop floor (in between more cups of tea!) and personifying them – what would they say and what would we say back? What do they hope…? Where would these words fit best – a short story, poem…?

Keeping your ‘eye on the form’ was the lesson here i.e. by generating a variety of phrases, were there any which could be used in any type of writing you may want to do and if so, where would they fit?

The final exercise was to compose a postcard message to someone, the short space meaning that the intensity of emotion would be carried in fewer but more heavily laden words. This is also to be completed at home as the class had, sadly, come to an end so – to be continued…

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