Sometimes—often—the most interesting things begin with “I Can’t…” That’s exactly what I said when author/teacher/mentor/friend Tim Wynne-Jones shared this prompt at a VCFA session a few years back. But, once I committed to giving it a try, it turned out I could! And best, I had fun! And the results were interesting. With hopes you’ll find it the same, here goes:
Plant a subject you’d like to explore in your mind. It can be as broad as “Sports” or “Weather.” It can be as specific as “My tenth birthday” or “Daisy.” Your choice.
Now, beginning with the letter A, work your way through the alphabet assigning one word to each letter in order: A-B-C-D…end with Z. (X is wild, or if you can, use a word that begins with the “ex” sound.)
There are 2 rules:
1) While the sequence you create might be outlandish, it must make sense—i.e. work as a sentence or series of sentences.
2) You cannot insert or delete letters.
Consider the 26 word sequence you created: Did you stick with your initial subject? Did you veer off in a different direction? Did you surprise yourself?
Now for the magic! Keeping the words in alphabetical order, use line breaks and punctuation to shape your Alphabet Jam into a 26 word poem.
Set the timer for 7 minutes.
Don’t think about it too much; just do it.
*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 870 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.