Exercise Wednesday: Two Poems
By Peggy Miller
One afternoon in an April years ago, a stained and wrinkled list of words appeared in my garden. I suppose it was an assignment lost by a school child walking home. A spelling list. And it was too late for the child—the paper had weathered for a few days, had been spattered by rain before it came to rest in my ivy. I realized the list was a gift, and I used it to devise a poetry exercise.
Write TWO poems. In each one use any 8 to 10 words on the list. Underline the list words in your poems. When you have completed the poems and used up most of the words on the list, there is a second step.
Omit the list words. Where necessary (ONLY where absolutely necessary) replace them with a more powerful or unusual word. Finally, polish your poems for expression and grace of language.
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.