Creative Assignment : Four takes on a theme.
Choose a topic or theme that interests you – perhaps one you’ve touched on earlier in the
quarter, or something from your list of “my subjects.” Your task is to approach it from
at least four different angles or styles. The goal is to shake up your own habits and try
not just one, but several things that you haven’t done before, or not much. The Poet’s
Companion has many suggestions. Check out the “Ideas for Writing” on pages 135-137
with its list of formal experiments. Here are some other ideas.
1. A formal poem (sonnet, sestina, pantoum, or villanelle). Or one of each!
2. Pure free verse. Use the whole page – lines need not start at the left margin. Play with
spacing as well as with words, line breaks, punctuation, capitalization. Read some free
verse to get inspired: Ezra Pound and Charles Olson were two great innovators.
3. A prose poem. It should sound like poetry, but be arranged on the page as prose, that
is, filling up the whole line with words.
4. Another form of your choosing; something with a structure that you define. For
example; a prose poem, regular stanzas (couplets, tercets, quatrains), every line begin
with the same phrase, or end with the same word… these can be as simple as 3-lined
stanzas, or elaborate structures involving alphabet play, spelling out words vertically,
puns, etc. It could be a song structure (ballad, maybe, with a repeating chorus.)
5. A random or experimental form. Consider a cut-up, random chance, quotes from
Submit your four or more poems to your instructor with a note on which one of these you
are most satisfied with, and why. Due date: Monday, March 5.
Submit to your group: both the poem you are most satisfied with, and one other from
your collection. Include a note explaining which you prefer, and why. Due Monday,
March 5.