Often we view rules or limitations as an imposition on our creativity, but they can be just the opposite! For many of us suffering from a lack of structure, a few (lightly enforced) rules may be what’s needed to get the fires burning.
Each week will include one physical yoga practice and one meditation practice to try, as well a week’s worth of writing prompts based on formal poetry. These prompts will ask you to experiment with things like rhyme, repetition, or syllable count. Even if you usually write in a different style, you’ll find that working with a smaller range of tools might give you an unusual result. We will discuss examples of each form, share what we’ve made and discuss how you might incorporate this week’s exercises into your regular writing routine. We will read poems from Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Rita Dove, Zeina Hashem Beck, Raych Carson and others.
Week 1: The Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya
Ready to dance it out? Our first set of prompts explore types of poems where syllable count is an important feature such as sonnets, haiku and renga. Get ready for some serious counting.
Meditation: Mindfulness of Breath
Week 2: Verse-Chorus-Verse
Build your own ear-worm! We naturally gravitate to pattern, and you can use this to build emotional strength in your poems. This week we will explore poems forms that include repeated words or lines (a refrain) such as villanelle and sestina.
Week 3: Stealing
Love magnetic poetry? Week 3 will suggest types of poems that involve appropriating or stealing such as erasures and cut-ups. No need to come up with new words when you can weird the words all around you.
Meditation: Metta or Lovingkindness
Week 4: Keep it Short
Don’t panic! Sometimes it feels like we can barely carve out 5 minutes a day to write, but that’s all you need to finish a poem. Our final week will include short, pithy forms such as the postcard poem, the limerick, and the sonnet.
Meditation: Walking Meditation