Poetry Challenge #71

Lists

January is a month of lists: resolutions, goals, projects, groceries.

You can write list poems over and over with different results every time. Take any prompt and list things it makes you think of as quickly as you can. Next go through the list and pick out one or more things that stick out for you. Try making a list from the thing you picked out. What does that thing make you think of? Why did you pick it? Add detail. Use your senses. Play with rhythm or rhyme.

Here are a couple prompts you can use to start if you want:

I like…
I wish I liked…
I remember…

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 1000 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 in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #70

Noises On!

Visualize an event, a moment, an incident—either real or imagined. Now, close your eyes and listen to the sound of significant movements and/or actions happening in that moment. What sounds do you hear? Heart beats, water dripping, footsteps, maybe bells . . .
Write a poem using these sounds. Try establishing a rhythm by repeating the sound a few times in each line followed or preceded by what is making the sound. Some hugely successful songs use sounds in this way. For example, in “The Trolley Song” sung notably by Judy Garland in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis sounds are used to describe the first moment Ester meets John:

“Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heart strings
From the moment I saw him I fell

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Bump, bump, bump went the brake
Thump, thump, thump went my heart strings
When he smiled I could feel the car shake”

— The Trolley Song by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane

And in one of the all-time greatest stick-in-your-head songs “That’s Amore!” sung notably by Dean Martin, jingly sounds are what make us want to sing and dance along:

“Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing “Vita bella”
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella”

— That’s Amore! written by Jack Brooks & Harry Warren

If you have your list of sounds, but you’re stuck for a way in, use one of these songs as a model for your poem (that’s what I did.)

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 1000 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 in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #69

The Sound of Silence

I’m writing this from the middle of a snowstorm. Heavy snow blankets the ground, outlines the trees, and continues to fall. Schools and businesses are closed. There’s no traffic. The world is silent.

And that got me thinking: what does silence sound like?

Write a poem that’s filled with silence. What images make you think of silence? What can you see and not hear? Try using quiet sounds—s and l and w—for your words so your poem has a quiet sound to it.

Shhh. Listen. Write.

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 990 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 in the comments.