Poetry Challenge #39

Kodachrome

When I think back on all the @#$! I learned in college, a disturbing experiment I learned about in PR 101 floats up: Subliminal Advertising. (Okay, yes, maybe it came to mind because I’m feeling a tad guilty and extremely bloated after devouring by the fistful more than my half of the movie popcorn last night.)

Short History Lesson: This idea of Subliminal Advertising came from a 1957 study by James Vicary, a market researcher who inserted the words “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coca-Cola” into a movie. “The words appeared for a single frame, allegedly long enough for the subconscious to pick up, but too short for the viewer to be aware of it.

The subliminal ads supposedly created an 18.1% increase in Coke sales and a 57.8% increase in popcorn sales.” As noted in this 2011 article from Business Insider, the results Vicary reported were falsified. But the idea of Subliminal Advertising, that images and words can and do subconsciously influence us, is widely regarded as true. Assuming it is, let the mind-bending commence:

Begin with some Words of Wisdom: select a quotation or adage from a book, the wall, or the Internet—or make up your own. For example:

“The Chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”—Pablo Picasso.
”All cats look grey at night”—Ben Franklin
”The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.”—Steve Jobs

Now, in a blatant effort to subliminally impact readers—and maybe ourselves—let’s hide those words of wisdom within the body of the poem. The trick is to insert the kernels of “wisdom” so deftly your reader doesn’t notice them. How?

Take out an unused piece of paper.

Working top to bottom, write the quotation down the center of the paper—one word to a line. As we are not creating an Acrostic poem, vary the position of the word on the lines.
Now write a poem around the words, thus “hiding” your message in a poem. That’s it!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #38

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

How about a picture is worth seven minutes of words? Or a picture is worth a poem?

Find a picture. It can be of anything. Look at the picture. Study it. Notice not just the main subject, but the background, the colors, the feelings.

Now write about the picture. It could be thoughts from one of the people or objects in the photo. It could be description. It could be a story.

The New York Times has a resource with pictures to use as prompts if you can’t find a picture on your own. NY Times photos

Here’s a picture from their archive that I picked out:

I could write my poem from the point-of-view of the dog standing at the counter or of the receptionist behind the counter telling the story of her day and of the strange dog that came into the store. I could write about the basket of fake vegetables (is that what they are?). I could write about the red stool or those shiny sandals. Anything goes!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #37

Put Me In, Coach…

The “Kansas Comet,” Gayle Sayers, considered “one of the greatest players in NFL history,” was born on May 30, 1943.

(I don’t recall ever actually seeing Gayle Sayers play. In my mind he’s Billy D. Williams from the 1971 movie Brian’s Song. If you haven’t seen it, you should—bring tissues.)

Sayer, who played for the Chicago Bears, said, “I had a style all my own. The way I ran, lurchy, herky-jerky, I kept people off-guard…”

“Lurchy, herky-jerky” works! Football fans take note: For the record, Sayer piled up “4,956 yards rushing in his 68-game career and was voted to four Pro Bowls. Sayers scored 22 touchdowns and 132 points in his first season, both then-rookie records.”

Write a poem about football in your own “Lurchy, herky-jerky style.”
Or . . .
Write a poem to the “Coach” of your imagination asking to be “Put in” to something you really, really, really want.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!