Poetry Challenge #44

Here’s a Neat Idea:

Sometimes all you need to write a poem is something to get you started. A number, a color, a word, or a phrase.

For this poem, begin with the phrase “Here’s a neat idea:” and write. You could be talking to yourself about something you’ve done or that you want to do. You could be talking to someone else about something you want them to do. You could be talking about something real or imagined. Whenever you get stuck, write the phrase again and see where it takes you.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 850 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #43

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…

There are days when I really need a superpower. Today is one of those days. I’m thinking you might wish you were a superhero too, sometimes.

Since Superman, Wonder Woman, Catboy, Flash, Batman & Robin are taken, we’re going to have to create other…better! Interesting! (Useful, at least) Superhero personas of our own.

Unfurl those capes, don those masks and let’s get to it!

If you could be a Superhero what would your super power be?
Would you be a Spidey who scaled walls and swung from web?
Would you be a super jumper or super strong?
Could you make yourself invisible, super small, or giant, or green?
Just as Superman fears Kryptonite, every superhero has a weakness, what would yours be?
Best, how would you use your super powers?

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 850 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #42

BOOM! BWEEEE! BANG! BANG! BANG!

It’s the Fourth of July! Make some noise!

For today’s poem, listen to the sounds around you and try to describe them with onomatopoeia (sound words like BOOM!) or simile (comparison using like or as: The fireworks were like giant bees buzzing the crowd) or metaphor (comparison not using like or as: The fireworks were thunder). Be poetic! Be loud or quiet! Listen…

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #41

Let’s Get Physical

There is “something” in the way we move. The way our muscles, tendons, bones, joints, skin . . . work together to create movement. Watching someone move is one thing, describing what that movement looks or feels like is another. People are sometimes likened to animals, machines, plants, geological formations. Likewise, machines, animals, plants, etc, are sometimes likened to people in songs, stories, and yes, poetry.

Watch or imagine someone or something in motion. The motion might be a big whole body movement like dancing, jumping, swaying, diving, tumbling, or it might be a movement as tiny as the blink of an eye or twitch of a baby toe.

If you’re game, get physical! Try replicating the motion yourself (nothing too dangerous). While in motion, pay attention to each micro-movement of your body. How do you feel? What do you feel like? Does that movement remind you of something? An eel? A kangaroo? An oil pump?

Write a poem in which you describe that movement by likening it to something else.

Plant that movement in your mind.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #40

Phone Home

I don’t know as many phone numbers as I used to now that I only have to click on someone’s name. But I do know my own number. For this challenge, write your phone number (including the area code) down the page, one number on each line. That number tells how many words you need to have on each line. Zeroes are wild; you can have any number of words on a zero line. Get rid of the numbers for your final poem and add punctuation if you need it. Add or delete words to make the poem better too. The numbers were just to get you started.
Here’s an example I wrote:

Visiting St. Gaudens on a warm, summer day,
I write about nature and man-made art.
I look up
and into the woods, and hear
birds call. Crows, doves,
chickadees, and a pileated woodpecker. I mark the early
fall of leaves
and know that soon snow will cover
the grounds, burying everything in a shroud of
winter.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #39

Kodachrome

When I think back on all the @#$! I learned in college, a disturbing experiment I learned about in PR 101 floats up: Subliminal Advertising. (Okay, yes, maybe it came to mind because I’m feeling a tad guilty and extremely bloated after devouring by the fistful more than my half of the movie popcorn last night.)

Short History Lesson: This idea of Subliminal Advertising came from a 1957 study by James Vicary, a market researcher who inserted the words “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coca-Cola” into a movie. “The words appeared for a single frame, allegedly long enough for the subconscious to pick up, but too short for the viewer to be aware of it.

The subliminal ads supposedly created an 18.1% increase in Coke sales and a 57.8% increase in popcorn sales.” As noted in this 2011 article from Business Insider, the results Vicary reported were falsified. But the idea of Subliminal Advertising, that images and words can and do subconsciously influence us, is widely regarded as true. Assuming it is, let the mind-bending commence:

Begin with some Words of Wisdom: select a quotation or adage from a book, the wall, or the Internet—or make up your own. For example:

“The Chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”—Pablo Picasso.
”All cats look grey at night”—Ben Franklin
”The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.”—Steve Jobs

Now, in a blatant effort to subliminally impact readers—and maybe ourselves—let’s hide those words of wisdom within the body of the poem. The trick is to insert the kernels of “wisdom” so deftly your reader doesn’t notice them. How?

Take out an unused piece of paper.

Working top to bottom, write the quotation down the center of the paper—one word to a line. As we are not creating an Acrostic poem, vary the position of the word on the lines.
Now write a poem around the words, thus “hiding” your message in a poem. That’s it!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #38

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

How about a picture is worth seven minutes of words? Or a picture is worth a poem?

Find a picture. It can be of anything. Look at the picture. Study it. Notice not just the main subject, but the background, the colors, the feelings.

Now write about the picture. It could be thoughts from one of the people or objects in the photo. It could be description. It could be a story.

The New York Times has a resource with pictures to use as prompts if you can’t find a picture on your own. NY Times photos

Here’s a picture from their archive that I picked out:

I could write my poem from the point-of-view of the dog standing at the counter or of the receptionist behind the counter telling the story of her day and of the strange dog that came into the store. I could write about the basket of fake vegetables (is that what they are?). I could write about the red stool or those shiny sandals. Anything goes!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #37

Put Me In, Coach…

The “Kansas Comet,” Gayle Sayers, considered “one of the greatest players in NFL history,” was born on May 30, 1943.

(I don’t recall ever actually seeing Gayle Sayers play. In my mind he’s Billy D. Williams from the 1971 movie Brian’s Song. If you haven’t seen it, you should—bring tissues.)

Sayer, who played for the Chicago Bears, said, “I had a style all my own. The way I ran, lurchy, herky-jerky, I kept people off-guard…”

“Lurchy, herky-jerky” works! Football fans take note: For the record, Sayer piled up “4,956 yards rushing in his 68-game career and was voted to four Pro Bowls. Sayers scored 22 touchdowns and 132 points in his first season, both then-rookie records.”

Write a poem about football in your own “Lurchy, herky-jerky style.”
Or . . .
Write a poem to the “Coach” of your imagination asking to be “Put in” to something you really, really, really want.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 800 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #36

Memories of…Bees

Today as I was walking through the field, I noticed bees drunk with happiness, rolling on the golden yellow dandelions. So many flowers! So much nectar! So many bees!

I was about ten years old when I experienced my first bee sting. I stepped (barefoot) on a bee in the driveway, jumped with the surprise and ouch of the sting on my toe, and my leg swelled up above my knee! I remember earlier bees than that, too: the bees that chased my next door neighbor when she poked a stick into their ground nest, the little boy from down the street who rode his bike through a swarm of bees and ran into our house to get away from them. So many memories, so many stories, all from one word: BEES.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think of when you think of bees? Is it an experience you had with them? A lazy, buzzing, summer day? A fascination with the way they live? Write a poem/story about bees. You might try to write a paragraph first, and then cut it the way we did in Challenge #26. Maybe cut it by half the words. Then another half. Add so it makes sense. Play with rhythm and maybe rhyme.

Get buzzzzzzzy!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 750 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #35

Riffing Rhyming it So!

Let’s begin with the old nursery rhyme “Rain, rain, go away”: Here’s the 1st stanza—it can continue . . . as long as the rain falls.

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again some other day.
Little Johnny wants to play.
Rain, rain, go away.

Think of something you’d like to go away. If it’s not rain, something else—whatever you would like to go away. Begin by substituting what you want to go away for the word “Rain” every time it appears. (It works best if your “go away” thing is only 1 or two syllables; if it has a long name you’ll have to abbreviate it.)

Next, skip to line 3 and substitute your name for “Little Johnny.” Mine is “Crazy Kelly”—cause the rain is driving me CraZy!

Now, you have a choice. Do you want to riff the easy way? Or the harder way?

Easy way: Notice how every line in the original ends in a rhyme: Away, Day, Play? If what you’d like to do is “play” or rhymes with play, you’re on easy street. Simply substitute what you’d like to do for “play” throughout the nursery rhyme. Easy as that, you’ve created a new chant. Or…

Harder way: If you’re ready to really riff, think of some similes for the phrase “Go Away.” Here are a few to get you started. (Because I am still hoping this chant works, I’m sticking with rain.):

Rain, Rain, hit the road . . .
Rain, Rain, take a hike . . .
Rain, rain, wave bye-bye . . .

Crack open that rhyming dictionary again because WHAT you’d do if whatever you want to go away, really did do just that, needs to rhyme. I, for example, need to come up with rhymes for “road” “hike” “bye” that I’d like to do.

Now put it all together. Feel free to change other words, mess with the pattern . . . heck, skip rhyming all together if you want. After all, it’s your riff. Here’s mine:

“Rain, Rain take a hike,
Curtis wants to ride his bike.
Rain, rain wave bye-bye,
I’m sick and tired of staying inside!
Rain, rain, hit the road,
Or CraZy Kelly will EXPLODE!”

Wha-lah! Just like that you’ll have created your own nursery rhyme. If you’re lucky it might even work!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 750 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!