A Subconscious Exercise


Haven’t done one of these in a while! Lately I’ve been trying to use more creative exercises (not strictly writing; in fact some that are specifically in other creative areas, like art and music) to better and more fully exercise my subconscious. I feel like much of the work of crafting stories happens off the page, when we are in rumination and our minds may wander and jump and connect. Blackout poetry is one such occasion to do so and, being creatively active, engages the mind differently than running or doing the dishes does. And when you’re done, you have a bit of art to show for it!

NaPoMo, Day 15: love is such wilderness

It’s the start of Blackout Week here at The Read Room! To celebrate National Poetry Month, this week I am composing one blackout poem a day.

A blackout poem, for those unfamiliar with them, is a poem written via erasure or “blacking out” text on a given page. You start with an article, a column, or any page of text (get creative– you could photocopy something from a novel, a dictionary, an almanac, etc.). Underline or circle words you like. Then, using those words you marked, make a coherent arrangement: lines, sentences, or even a single phrase. Color over the rest, and there you have it– a blackout poem!

I hadn’t used my pastels in forever, so I when I had the idea to use those instead of sharpie I had to try it 🙂

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The poem reads thus:

love is such Wilderness

the sidewalk cracks.

when most else has wilted

it will be

uprooting rivers.

Another poem tomorrow. Oh, and pretty soon I’m going to have to get my writing prompts for Interactive Poetry Week (next week) posted– so stay tuned!

The Read Room does National Poetry Month

Seven Days of Poetry

Last year I slipped poems into books at my favorite bookshop.

Friends, writers, poets and non-poets, lovers of words: April is National Poetry Month!

As someone who didn’t discover the power of poetry until college and a novelist who can never make as much time for poetry as she would like, I am devoting the month of April to celebrating poetry here at The Read Room. I will do this by observing a different practice each week– some of which I will be looking for other bloggers to coordinate with! Warning: the next 30 days will be creative. Side effects may include fun and attraction to poetry!

Here are my plans for National Poetry Month:

  1. Week One (April 1-7): Reading. Just as my poetry courses in university began, I will start off by reading. Poems are short. They go by quickly. I will be reading 10 poems a day out of various anthologies and posting my favorites here, as well as highlighting what I like and what, in terms of technique, makes it good poetry. If you have never been a poetry reader, I recommend this reading practice for you, too– 10 a day is very manageable and will expose you to much quickly.
  2. Week Two (April 8-14): Artistic Transcriptions. I loved what I did last year to celebrate NaPoMo so much that I’m going to do it again. In this week I will transcribe (copy down) one poem a day, by hand, and play around with artistic rendering: adding illustrations, collage, paint, dried flowers, etc. At the end of the month I will visit my favorite bookshop and deposit these into random books for strangers to find. Not before scanning them and sharing them here, of course! 🙂
  3. Week Three (April 15-21): Blackout Poetry. A blackout poem is written by erasure. You start with an existing text (a newspaper article, a movie review, a gossip column, anything) and do the following: 1) circle words you like 2) add/cross out words you like until they read, from start to finish, like a sentence or coherent phrase(s) 3) “black out” the rest of the text by coloring over it with a marker. Or paint. Or nail polish. This is The Read Room. We favor creativity. And I will be writing and uploading one blackout poem a day in this week.
  4. Week Four (April 22-28): Interactive Poetry with Other Bloggers/Twitterers. I’m going to have to work out the details of this and I’ll set it up in advance, but what I’m thinking is that I’ll provide a different prompt each day and those interested in playing (writing) can do so by leaving their line in the comments or in a Twitter conversation.

And those are my plans! How are YOU observing NaPoMo– and do you have any interest in writing poetry with other bloggers the week of April 22? Let us know! 🙂