Poetry Exercises

Poetry is more than a form. It is a tool. Are you bored? Try some rhymes. Are you stuck? Feel the rhythm of a single expression; move it a little faster until you can gain a little momentum for yourself with it.

As an exercise, you can brainstorm off a single word or thought. You can work on your pacing by taking one scene and writing a single couplet, a stanza, a half-page, etc. You can step out of any problematic piece you may be working on to work on dialogue, intensity, or asides.

You can imitate a master. Add stanzas to a hymn. Re-familiarize yourself with alliteration, onomatopoeia, allegory, allusions, and any other literary form you might otherwise use with hesitation. You can use a single piece of poetry–a page, a day, or a journal of it–to exercise and strengthen in the privacy of “simply an exercise.”

Poetry can help a person remember to love the language and savor the words. It can also remind us that we, too, are an audience, and that words can be whispered and private, rather than always printed for show.

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