Poem Writing Tip – Word Association

It’s been so long since I’ve been writing about poetry that I wanted to drop in a quick tip and deliver a bit on the promise that this is a blog about writing.

© By Boinkaz

One trick I use when I’m pressed for time and dashing off a quick poem is I’ll do this: Just take a book off a shelf and scan it for a word or two or three that leaps out at you. Use that as a jumping off point to knock out a poem. This also will tug your mind to something other than what’s sitting outside your window at the moment–the morning, the birds, night, lawn. You’ll note I’ve had dozens of Twitter poems on these topics. The reason is that its what’s in front of my face at the moment. Any way you can shake up this Etch-a-sketch and pursue a new avenue of thought is worth doing. Digging a word off a shelf is one of them.

Now today, when I have a lot of stuff to do, this kind of backfired because the book I pulled off my shelf–Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey–was such a fascinating book that it ended up wasting more time than it saved because I started reading it when I’m supposed to be writing several thousand words (I’m doing #nanowrimo).

And de Quincey’s prose is pure poetry, so I ended up doing an homage poem instead, taking his phrasology and stringing it together. As druggie memoirs go this is clearly a good one, and quite accessible for having been written in 1822. It’s up there (or down there I guess you could say) with Burroughs’s The Soft Machine.

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