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Thursday, February 23, 2006


Can anyone recommend any poetry exercises or websites they've used to prompt poems? I'm having serious writing troubles. *

*Anonymous, please don't recommend a 40, Mary J, or a one night stand--been there & maybe I've done that!


Collin said...

Diana...I've got an exercise for you, which comes courtesy of Terrance Hayes.

Take a word...the longer the better...and make it the title of your poem. Now create a poem of at least 20 lines with the last line of each stanza being an anagram of the title word. This was the one I created from the word confidentiality:


The FBI must be keeping track, a thick file
of comings and goings I cannot deny.
When I put my finger on the dial,
type a message, look for a confidante
someone is listening, watching, tracking every cent.

I wonder if it's Condi,
bored with the war on terror, the usual plausible denial,
she could be up playing the piano late,
"I've Got You Under My Skin," by old Cole,
or any little ditty,
to make the days go faster, or make a dent
in all the mail she's received about how she's failed
her race, playing Prissy to Dubya's Scarlett, over confident,
killing babies rather than birthin' them, even in the no-fly.
He's made Americans enemy combatants, put every city
on alert for unpatriotic signs, ratcheted up the Def-con,
made us all commies again, no confidentiality,
the Red Bastards are coming, washing in on the tide.

Condoleezza, there is hope yet,
there is still time to come to the nation's aid.
I dream of you sitting in front of Congress, nailing it
with two simple words: "Bush lied."

Ginger Heatter said...

If I were in New York, I'd spend a day at the Met or MOMA and try to osmote something. (I know, I know, that's not a word.)

Diane K. Martin said...

I like Ginger's idea. Other museums should work too. There is that good book by Chase Twichell--the name escapes me.

One exercise I found interesting in graduate school--look at a poem in another language, one that you cannot read at all, and "translate it."

But I always find that the passage of time helps. Sometimes you can't write because you're trying too hard.

CLAY BANES said...

reread some poet you liked before we were cool.

Diana Marie Delgado said...

Thanks you guys/gals. I appreciate all of your responses.

I'm only acting anxious because I'm finishing up my Columbia thesis: 35 pages by March 7th. I've got 25 I'm semi-okay with. So I figured, because of my time restraints, I'd try some excercises.

Normally, I try not to force things, but for the sake of my degree--I have to!

I'm heading to MOMA tomorrow morning & going to read some Breton tonight.

Justin Evans said...

Think of a famous person and have a friend or relative meeting that famous person active in a mundane activity or at some odd place.

The title becomes your hook, as in:

The Day My Cousin Met Ralph Nader


While walking down Rodeo Drive, My Sister meets ____________ Changing a Tire


I use cut-up, too. Take a Cosmo, or other vacuous magazine and cut out all of the ads. Then take the ads and cut out all of the words that grab you. After, go back through the magazine and read headlines, cutting out any other words you like. Put them into an envelope. Start pulling out words and phrases and arranging them into complete ideas until something takes root in your imagination. Go from there.

Anonymous said...


jose said...

I sent you an email at your columbia acct; not sure if you use this.

Diana Marie Delgado said...


Yes. That is my email and thanks for that A-mazing email. Truly nice of you.

Anonymous said...

Call me. I'm go over and help you.

The Donkey

Neil Aitken said...

1. Take a non-fiction book that has nothing to do with poetry, flip through its pages and randomly stab your finger in until your find a phrase or group of words that might lead somewhere. Run with it. History, socio-cultural examinations, religious texts, and random 19th century estorica work best for this.

2. Wander a good used bookstore. Note all the interesting titles of books on the shelves.