Saturday, 9 July 2011

Little Blue Hut Open Day

I was really lucky with the weather today – it was sunny but not too hot. I had a fair few people come, including fellow writers, family, and some friends I hadn’t seen for over fifteen years.

It was lovely to catch up with everyone, and amazed me how many people could actually sit in the hut without it seeming too crowded. Much cake and fizzy drinks were consumed, and many bubbles were blown.

Seeing all my poems pegged up on the wall highlighted the interconnected threads that run through many of them. They are obviously inspired by the location as they all revolve around the sea in one way or another.

While here I’ve played with various methods of poem generation, and I’ve listed them below.

  • Free writing from a line of poetry

  • Just free writing about what I can see

  • Mind mapping – write the main concept word in the middle, then mind map all possible links and connotations on a BIG piece of paper.

  • The alternate line exercise

    • Take any poem (although often better if it isn’t one you know well) and write out every other line.

    • You then fill in your own lines in the missing spaces.

    • You then rewrite out your lines, with the original ones missing, and again fill in the blanks, then tweak.

    • It’s really interesting how your own ideas come through, even when using another poem as a skeleton. (Thanks to Maria McCarthy who showed me this idea).

  • I’ve also used random poetry generation

    • Draw a square 2 inches by 2 inches on the cover of a magazine, then cut right the way though, to end up with a stack of small squares.

    • The next step is to write down all the phrase fragments, then pick some of them out and shape a poem. (Thanks to Tamara Schultz who introduced me to this idea).
I’ve found the free writing exercises best when I’m feeling inspired, whereas the other exercises are more about making a poem appear, finding a way to access that creativity when it doesn’t want to come out to play. Concentrating on the mechanics of an exercise often helps by distracting the logical part of my brain. It does seem though, that no matter what method I use, what direction I approach the writing, whatever needs to be said, comes out in one form or another.

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