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Exercise Wedneday: Time is Strange–Writing Stream of Consciousness

April 24, 2013

The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”  ~William Faulkner

In our minds there is no sequence, no chronology.  Everything exists in the present.  It’s mixed together and turbid. There are no limits of tense or order.

With this in mind, write a poem or a prose poem where things are not sorted, revised or adjusted for time.   Catch the ideas as they occur to you, even if they are unrelated, and without putting them in order.

This can be like taking dictation from a nut case.  But don’t let that discourage you. After you write it, let the poem mellow for a while.   In a month or two read and revise the poem, preserving any strange things that happened because of the mixed sequence of the poem’s origin.


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.

One Comment
  1. April 27, 2013 8:03 am

    This is interesting. I do not write poetry, but I have written a novella of which the first half is very nearly stream of consciousness. You don’t know that, however, until the second half when you realize that…well, can’t say more. Anyway, I would love to do more in this vein. Thanks for this unusual exercise.

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