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Exercise Wednesday: Lichens

October 24, 2012

Peggy Miller is back with another poetry prompt. Peggy’s agreed to give us one poetry prompt a month starting in January. 


There are great places to find unusual words and phrases – these are taken from The Big Book o’ Lichens:  beaded bone, blackened toadskin, black-eye, blistered jellyskin, blood-spattered beard, bloody-heart, reborn pelt, can-of-worms, cowpie, creamy pepper-spore, cryptic paw, matchstick devil, dimpled pecklebelly, earth wrinkles, elf-ear, freckle pelt, frog pelt, frosted finger, gnome fingers, gritty brit, gut lichen, jelly strap, lettuce lung, powderhorn, lobed nipple, mouse ear, pale-bellied dog, peacock oilskin, pimpled kidney, punctured rocktripe, pustule crust, rock hairball, smoky crottle, ticker bone, variable rockfrog, wart-beard, warty ramalina.  Look through the list and write a small poem using one or more.  This is the sort of list from which you can write a whole collection of poems—one for each lichen’s name.

Peggy Miller, an editor with The Comstock Review, has an MFA from American University. She has conducted poetry workshops for over
15 years. Her collections include What the Blood Knows was published in 2007 and Stone Being in 2009, both from Custom Words. Peggy has published a chapbook, Martha Contemplates the Universe, Frith Press, and a Greatest Hits chapbook from Pudding House. Visit her on Facebook.

  1. October 24, 2012 7:09 pm

    I enjoyed the conference in Lake Mary tremendously. What a great learning experience. I will admit that I felt totally out of my league during the early morning poetry writing exercises. Everyone who shared what they wrote astounded me with their brilliance. I was certainly not up to that level. But I did appreciate the learning experience and cool prompts. Thank you.

    • Peggy Miller permalink
      December 1, 2012 9:05 pm

      Hello Lisa,
      Late reply: I am so sorry that you felt intimidated by the others participating in the early morning exercises. The truth is you are every bit as good as anyone else. The idea is to write like yourself, not like anybody else, and over time you will like what you write better than those you hear or read. It is about what appeals to your own sensibility. So nice of you to leave a comment. See you on the January blog.

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