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Exercise Wednesday: Once in a blue moon

July 31, 2013

I remember the first time I saw the moon in daylight.  I was a child and I was sure the moon belonged only in the night sky.  The moon by day looked blue and truly round, unlike the flatter version I knew in the dark.  And so I made the moon daylight-blue on a rare day that I wrote about in the poem I began yesterday.

If you say someone has a wooden heart, what does it mean?  No emotions.  Maybe that’s one of those phrases that is a cliché, not good for a poem because it has been overused and therefore the words have become tired.  Fresh wording, instead, can make a really fine poem.   In a fascinating autobiographical poem called “Heartseed,” Fred Marchant uses wood as his theme, but it doesn’t come out in a predictable way, so it restores power to the wooden heart.  Fred’s poem can be found online.

For this month, choose a cliché and write a poem using it.  But distort the cliché, or break it up or alter it or add complexity.  Your mystery cliché has powerful meaning behind it that has affected you or your life or your philosophical thinking.

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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.

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