Start with a Line from Someone Else (Part 3): Poetry Day 4

“Take a line from someone else and change one word in the line: “Beyond all this, the wish to be alone” might become, “Beyond all this, the wish to be perfect.” See where you can go from there.”

– Kim Addonizio “Ordinary Genius”

Original line: “The house was quiet and the world was calm.”

The house was wild and the world was calm.

A white picket fence holding the eruption

Neatly trimmed lawn hiding juice spills and tantrums.

An empty swing, the only reminder of the storm.

Original Line: “If there exists a hell – the case is clear -“

If there exists a hell – the case is lost –

I’m destined for eternity

To relish in darkness – no fear of the light-

Is the payment for my life

Celebrations every night – I will not regret-

There is no second glance

If there exists a hell


Start With a Line from Someone Else (Part 2): Poetry Day 3

“Take a first line you like and rewrite it in your own words, based on your experience. For example, “Sundays too my father got up early” might transform into “Every Friday, he brought home KFC.” “Come to me in the silence of the night” might become “Come over, when my parents are asleep.” Start a poem based on your line.”

-Kim Addonizio “Ordinary Genius”

“No longer mourn for me when I am dead” became “Don’t forget me when I die.”

Don’t forget me when I die

The time is coming soon

Death’s last wishes kiss my lips

His angel breaths into my lungs

They restrict against the foreign air

Don’t forget my favorite things

When they lay me down to rest


cascading down your back

Shoulders firm in an embrace

Oh to have that one last touch

To remember when I die

Start With a Line From Someone Else (Part 1): Poetry Day 2

“Read through this list of first lines and think about what each one sets up. Choose one and let it lead you into your own writing – a paragraph or two of prose.”

-Kim Addonizio “Ordinary Genius”

I did this in the middle of the night when I woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep. It is very obvious because I missed the “paragraph or two of prose” part and by the theme I follow. So instead, I have poems starting with a line that Ms. Addonizio listed. Buy her book if you want the list.

Come sleep, Oh sleep, The certain knot of peace

The uniter of men

Joined more closely than the rain

Come peace, Oh peace that only comes in sleep

That marries poor and rich

And lights the dream again

Come to me in the silence of the night;

Unwelcome memories cling like shadows,

haunting, stalking, bringing

No sleep

Your breathing keeps time with the boots

of dead men marching across time

inescapable, unpardonable, unable

to Ever forget

Take these monsters from my dreams

They nightly devour my soul

pitiless, penniless, homeless

Residents of the night

The American Sentence: Poetry Day 1

“It’s easier to start with the goal of writing one short sentence than an entire poem. What interests me is how a short sentence can have all the qualities of a poem – a quick, perfectly executed brushstroke that surprises and delights, that’s full of mystery and meaning, and set to a rhythm that sings. Allen Ginsberg, inspired by the traditional Japanese haiku – three lines of five, seven, and five syllables – invented the ‘American Sentence,’ one sentence of seventeen syllables.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”

My room is plastered wall to wall with visions I will never finish.

I used to love a foot of snow; now it’s agony to take care of.

Silence is impossible in a place that allows any children.

I sit in class and wonder why I’d ever inflict this on my kids.

Purple is the color filling my sister like a cancerous organ.

A small scrap of paper taped to the wall transports me to Wonderland.

When I look into reflective glass, do I perceive what others see?

Fuchsia socks, auburn room, all hues of the color keeping me alive.

Which American Sentence is your favorite? Maybe I’ll take it and turn it into a poem by the end of my experiment.

Spring Experiment

I’m back. I’ve finished the semester, I only have exams next week and then I have a much lighter schedule for the summer. Maybe I’ll actually have time to post something.

So, this spring I’m trying a little different experiment. I found a book of tips and exercises for poets. I don’t consider myself a poet, unless the rhyming accidents that everyone has or making up the words to a popular song count, but I’ve decided to do one of these exercises everyday until I finish the book. I’m going to do the exercises by hand, because I write better that way and then I’ll post them for you. Just promise not to judge me, they won’t be anywhere close to final drafts.