Write anything you want but keep writing. Try not to lift your pen or pencil from the page except between words. Let whatever is in your mind out (you won't have to share any of this unless you want to). Try following the rhythm of the music if you want to, or describe it. . Grammar for poets:
Last week at the end of class we focused on concrete nouns. Go back through what you have just written and circle or underline the concrete nouns, then do the same for active verbs. What do you notice about the sentences in which these words appear? I want you to keep looking for concrete nouns as well as active verbs. These are the main elements of good imaginative writing.
Notice for the moment that abstract nouns easily get turned into adjectives: lovely, courageous, happy, beautiful, sad, nice, brave; and also into adverbs: happily, beautifully, sadly, nicely, bravely. All these words are useful to the creative writer, of course, but some should function as the centers of our sentences, some as occasional add-on parts, as if for decoration. Some writers like more decoration, some less.
2. Quick exercise:
Create a collection of at least ten sentences using concrete and active language. The first five will be in the form of similes
, the second five in the form of metaphors
. A simile is a sentence that says one thing is like
another; a metaphor is a sentence that says one thing is
another (very different) thing. Simile: The moon is like a woman's face
. Metaphor: The moon is a woman's face
that in both cases the comparison is between unlike
things, so that to say, for example, The moon is a satellite
is not a metaphor, but a literal description. There is plenty of room for literal description in poetry and fiction, but non-literal comparisons play a larger role than they do in everyday uses of language. Examples:
Fill the blanks in the sentences with concrete nouns or noun phrases. (Notice that is a place where we use abstract verbs.)
Similes: The __________ is like a _____________ .
_____________s are like ____________s.
Metaphors: The __________ is a _______________ .
_____________s are ______________ .
If you have extra time:
Can you make similes and metaphors with verbs as well as nouns?
Write a poem of at least ten lines in which every statement is a lie. I will ask for volunteers to read these poems aloud when we are finished.
If we have time, we'll spend the final part of the class writing to music again. You can write anything in any form.
If you feel like working on the material from today's class on your own, here are a couple of things you might try:
- Collect nouns and noun phrases in your notebook, the weirder the better. Listen to people talk, note things you find in books or hear on the radio or TV.
- Same thing for verbs. Try to be startled by the language around you. Take notes.
- Write your own poems however you want, but try to use the things we've been doing in class.