If you find the idea of writing poetry completely intimidating, you might want to try out a creativity tool I rediscovered: magnetic poetry.
I recall magnetic poetry being the hot new thing back in the mid-1990s, usually sold in bookstore gift sections. Several local coffee shops near me kept cookie sheets coated with the small magnetized pieces of type you could arrange into forms of expression.
The challenge was to work with the words at hand and arrange them into something at least partially coherent. The truly patient would dig through the sticky bits to find just the right words. The impatient would sacrifice coherence. The guffawing teenagers usually left behind suggestive little ditties like this: white curve / in a window / moon rise / blush and run.
I picked up a new set of magnetic poetry at a flea market over the summer--the "romance" set, which I knew would have lots of fun additions to the two sets I already own. When we first got the set home, my daughter and I noodled around for a good forty minutes trying different combinations.
My creativity was spurred by three words that had come linked together on one of the perforated sheets: "slow," "velvet" and "dance."
Here's what resulted:
I noticed a few interesting things working in this medium. First, one tends to go light with using articles, because who wants to spend twenty minutes digging for an "a" or "an"? Second, odd combinations pop up all the time and can cause your subject and tone can shift dramatically as you compose. This piece shifted when the word "pleasure" caught my eye. I got thinking what a cliched concept it often is and let my imagination roam for new ways to conceive it.
If you haven't ever played with magnetic poetry, I highly recommend it as a warm-up tool. Seeing stacks of words randomly juxtaposed will stir your imagination in wonderful ways.
Have you ever played with magnetic poetry sets? If you were to take the words I used, how would you rearrange them?