Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 8, page 1 of 3)

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Chapter 8

The first thing you need to know about poetry is that you could study it an entire lifetime and still not know everything there is to know about it.

The second thing is that what makes or doesn't make something poetic varies from person to person. Poetry is very personal. People understand poetry in their own personal ways and every time a poet writes poetry, he or she is revealing some very personal things.

This first assignment is designed so that you will make some choices about what you think is "poetic". You cannot get this assignment wrong, so don't even worry about it.

1. Listen to a song, either lyrical or instrumental, which you, for whatever reason consider to be poetic.

2. Second, find a picture (from a magazine, a painting, a photograph) you consider poetic.

3. Watch a videotape that you consider to be poetic.

4. Finally, read an actual poem or better yet poems that you like.

Question yourself mercilessly. What makes this poetic? Why does it affect me?

What in my life does it make me think of?

As a warm-up exercise, write your own poem using the same format as the one you have selected. Do not write the same poem or even the same words, choose a similar subject and use the same grammatical structures to write your own. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it is a good way to learn.

Since poetry is so personal, I am going to give you some personal examples of my own to answer the above questions. And since I am old, don't be surprised if you've not heard of these things.

One of my favorite songs of all time is "Color My World" by Chicago and anything by the Moody Blues. "Color my World" has a great message and was also the theme of my senior prom. The Moody Blues is the favorite band of both my wife and mine. A picture I consider poetic would be just about any picture of Demi Moore. (I said I was old not dead.)

One of the most poetic videos I can imagine is one showing a running back slashing through the line of scrimmage, bobbing and weaving, and breaking tackles for a 95 yard touchdown run. As far as actual poems go, I like so many it would be impossible for me to pick one favorite, but I do have some favorite poets. Langston Hughes and Robert Frost are two of them.

A. The first personal poem you will write is an acronym using your name. An example follows.

Serious about a lot of things Teacher who really enjoys working with young adults Easygoing most of the time Vacillates when it comes to making big decisions Emotional roller coaster -- up and down a lot Never breaks a promise Christian who is always trying to become a better person Rock 'n' roll fan -- especially 70's and Christian rock 'n' roll Obnoxious sense of humor Science fiction and fantasy fan Self-centered too much of the time.

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