Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Imagery Exercise (my one of many)

The following exercise is about seven years old. I developed it while teaching poetry at Bellevue Hospital’s on-site high school. I’ve since given this exercise
to slam team members and/or grown-ups and every time, unlike my students, these folks get hung up on part two of this exercise. They just can’t hang. Too many doors inside them closed. But let's give it a whirl:


Create three columns on a piece of paper (or Excel spreadsheet, ha!)

In Column One, write down twenty-five inanimate objects (or “objects that cannot just get up and walk away.”)

Column Two: write down the first animal that comes to mind when you think of the object in Column One. (Consider shape, movement, sound. A bullet is about the size of a cockroach, or it moves swift, like a shark or digs through skin, like a mosquito.)

Column Three: sounds or actions that animal makes.

Once you’ve completed all three rows, omit Column Two, and use Column Three to help give your objects character.

Create a line or poem that includes your combos.

For example:

wine glass / monkey / screech, hang, swing, play
eye / snail / crawl, slime, munch, lug

can become:

The woman gripped
her screeching wine glass
as her husband’s eyes
crawled across
the cleavage in the room.

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