Archive for the ‘Exercises’ Category:

The World Outside

Written on February 9th, 2019 by adminno shouts

Find a window in a cafe or coffee shop, library or even your home, as long as it faces out to the street – preferably a busy street. Watch the world go by, the shoppers and cars and busses, each on of those people has a story to tell. Look at how they interact or pointedly do not. What are the colours like? Is everyone wearing similar clothing?

Find a second window – this one looking out onto some quieter gardenscape or mountains etc… somewhere that contrasts with the first setting. What is different here? Is it as different as you would have expected? What are the colours? And are you alone?

It is also interesting to do this exercise on different days, at different times – collecting different lighting and weather conditions.

Compare and contrast the scenes either with each other or with themselves on different days.

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Slimy Friend

Written on February 8th, 2019 by adminno shouts

Mary's friend Slimey the Frog

What is this little frog up too? Animals can be a good source of material for poetry especially if you get out and see them in person. This little fellow was found by a seven year old on an allotment but is it an ordinary frog or something magical?

Try and imagine what the frog would say if it could talk to you.

Look at the picture for a few minutes and then thinking about what it’s like to be a little frog try writing down what the frog does in a typical day.

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Merlin, Magic and Mystery

Written on February 5th, 2019 by adminno shouts

The Arthurian legends are something most people know or know of or at least think they do but the actual historical records are hazy and confused – so what do you know of Merlin the Magician, Mage, Wild Man, Seer, Prophet, Wizard and Wiseman?

Spend twenty minutes writing from Merlins point of view – how does the story of the Pendragons pan out from his point of view?

Do not worry if you only know the film or TV versions of the character just roll with the personification of this old legend that floats to the top of your mind.

Now go and fall down a internet rabbit whole (or go to the library and get a book or three on the subject), watch documentaries, films, read wikipedia or talk to various fandoms about who they think Merlin is.

Once your brain is full of the wizard repeat the exercise and write for 20 minutes on this new version of Merlin that you have found.

Compare and contrast the two pieces and get the two characters to have a verbal battle or even a magical one – who will win? The Merlin of the historical texts or a modern telling or the one you grew up with in your head?

If you want to spice things up you could look at creating an epic poem along the lines of those made during the lower medical period including the rhyme and meter structures.

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Slither Moon

Written on February 4th, 2019 by adminno shouts

Moon, Birds and Morning Star

The Moon as a slither, almost not there at all… look at this picture – what does it say to you? How does it make you feel? Where are the birds going and does it hail a change or new beginning?

Spend 5 minutes writing, try not to think to much about what you are writing, instead just write even if it is you just describing the scene.

Leave what you have written for about a month and then go back to look at it. You may find there is already something poetic trying to break out of the muddle of words. Or maybe just one line – now is the time to craft it into your poem.

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Book Marks

Written on February 3rd, 2019 by adminno shouts

Bookmarks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – often they are scraps of paper and not proper bookmarks at all – try and think about the world of reading from the bookmarks perspective. What where they once? And what are they now? Which book are they squashed in? Are they an endangered species with ebooks? What of the e-readers that end up being used as bookmarks by the technologically uninformed?

Build up a picture of their life and then try writing a piece using their voice and memories, hopes and fears and dreams.

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Made Up Worlds

Written on February 2nd, 2019 by adminno shouts

enchanting table MinecraftMinecraft enchanting table photo by Sarah Snell-Pym

Ever fallen into a game or story so hard that the world becomes somehow tangible? If so what is that world like? How does it feel to you? Is it a place you want to retreat too or run as far from as possible? What made it so realistic and could you create something better yourself?

Spend sometime dotting down the answers to these questions – the answer can be no but expand on that no, if you think made up worlds are stupid tell us why this is the case. Fill those notes out don’t just leave one word answers.

Once this is done think up five of your own questions about our interactions with stories and made up spaces such as games – what drives us to them? How much money and time is spent in or around these constructs?

Once this is done have a look at the answers and see if there is a general thread running through them, if there is take this thread and use it as a starting point for your poetry. If not continue to expand the answers and see if you can join them all up into a continuous flow of writing i.e. turn it into paragraphs instead of bullet points (or at least run on sentences). In doing so you may find that a natural poetic structure arises, if not keep playing with it until one does!

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Robo Rob

Written on February 9th, 2018 by adminno shouts

Robo Rob part of the programming board game designed for Cuddly Science

This is Robo Rob who is part of a board game to help teach children about the basic concepts of programming but Rob also does jobs and could be called Bob… so what do you think this little robot might be getting up to? Make a list and create a list of rhymes to go with it. Once you have your lists start constructing a rhyming adventure for our robot friend here!

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Book Roulette

Written on February 8th, 2018 by adminno shouts

This exercise works best with a group of people, each of you brings a book, using a dice you select pages and then lines to read out, take it in turns to read a line each but make it seem as if the the line from one book follows on from the other. Record the session and then go over it to find interesting juxtapositions of words and phrases, these can be used as a starting point for a poem.

Warning the exercise causes excessive laughter!

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Written on February 6th, 2018 by adminno shouts

Look at your hands, or pictures of hands….. what do you see? How are they constructed? What colour are they, are they rough hands or cubby young hands? Are the nails dirty? Bitten? Painted fabulous colours? Are the hands covered in sleeves or henna, jewellery?

What have the hands done? Who and what have they touched, made created, destroyed? Are they loving hands? Neglected?

Think on all these things and what the hands could be – do the hands belong to you? What if they didn’t? What if they had a life of their own or where replacements, how would they behave?

Do they work properly and if so what are they used for?

Spend 20 mins writing on the theme of hands, do not worry if you abandon several ideas, just keep writing whilst the timer is ticking – you may find some poetic forms appear in the writing, take these and edit them into full pieces.

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Written on February 5th, 2018 by adminno shouts

A fun exercise that can really help if you are stuck just staring at a blank screen or piece of paper, is to collaborate!

Find another poet or would be poet and either sit in the same room as them or set up emails or online chat to work with them, then start brain storming ideas and writing pieces for the other to look at. You can sit and write it completely together or you write a bit and send it to them and they write a bit and send it back. This is a fabulous way to work especially for longer works such as epic poems.

Collabs are great though you may need to have patients with your collaborator and remember that they are being equally patient with you!

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