Friday, April 13, 2012

Writing Exercise #70

Some of my most favorite poems or short stories are less than twelve lines long. Consider the heartbreaking short story by Ernest Hemingway: For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Write a poem or story in eleven lines or less. Write it as if you were writing a photograph. You can make the moment personal or choose to write from fiction. What was that moment like, the second your firstborn child came from his mother? Describe the moment you heard terrible news. Or Goldilocks, when she first woke to find herself surrounded by three grizzlies. Let images take the place of feeling. Let the atmosphere set the tone. I know I say that a lot, but I mean it EVERY TIME.

This exercise was inspired by one of my favorites, Adonis, an Arab poet, and his poem "Song" (as translated by the equally masterful poet Khaled Mattawa)