Poetry Challenge #87-How's This for an Idea?

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Sometimes, my head is full of ideas. But sometimes . . . At those times a little prompting is in order.

Poetry Challenge #87

How’s This for an Idea?

Choose one of the prompts below as your first line and write as fast as you can. If you get stuck, try another prompt. Or: How’s this for an idea: Write a 4 line poem using each prompt for one of the lines.

  • No one knows I’m here…

  • Here’s a neat idea…

  • I’m scared of…

  • I wish I could remember…

Pick a Prompt

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 3 years ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #86: Riffing Chicago Style

On a flight from Chicago, munching Garrett’s Popcorn (the best part of O’Hare layovers), my bygone Chicago Blues popped into mind—specifically one night I heard Albert King play Crosscut Saw*. It’s nicknamed “that dirty blues song” but, it doesn’t have to be. That’s the challenge!

The Garrett’s Kiosk at O’Hare, opposite gate B8

The Garrett’s Kiosk at O’Hare, opposite gate B8

Poetry Challenge #86

Riffing Chicago Style

Chicago Style Blues started as musical improv, performers creating on the fly, riffing off each other, daring each other, challenging each other and themselves to come up with song verses that fit the pattern. A performer starts with one line that fits a beat. That line is then repeated. Then a third longer line finishes the stanza with a word that rhymes with the previous two. Simple as that—if you’re a smokin’ guitarist.

Here’s the opening stanza of Tommy McClennan’s Crosscut Saw as Albert King played it:

Crosscut Saw
I’m a cross cut saw, Baby/ just drag me ‘cross your log I’m a cross cut saw, Baby/ just drag me across your log I cut your wood so easy, you can’t help but say ‘Hot dog!’
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosscut_Saw_(song)#Albert_King_version
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It’s said, one reason the second line repeats the first, which is so much a part of traditional Blues, is to give performers creating on the fly, time to think of a rhyming last line. For fun, blues players toss the song around, challenging each other by taking turns coming up with new stanzas.  Let’s give it a try. Here’s a template to get us started:

I’m a something or other, name,  just doing something somewhere.

I’m a something or other, name,  just doing something somewhere.

I verb the noun so easy, I’ll say or do something that fits and ends in a rhyme

My Effort: 

I’m a green frog, Henry, just sitting on a rock. 

I’m a green frog, Henry, just sitting on a rock.

I’ll hop and croak so loudly, I’ll blast you off your dock.  

Now that you’ve set a pattern, try stringing 2 or 3 stanzas together—or 5 for your own blues song.

Grab your air guitar and get Bluesy!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*From Wikipedia: "Crosscut Saw", or "Cross Cut Saw Blues" as it was first called, is a dirty blues song "that must have belonged to the general repertoire of the Delta blues".[1] The song was first released in 1941 by Mississippi bluesman Tommy McClennan and has since been interpreted by many blues artists.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1100-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #85-Yes, You May!

It’s May! It’s May! Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, grass is growing, trees are branching out—and so are we! Hooray! Hooray!

Ring around the May Pole

Ring around the May Pole

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Taking a cue from the musical Camelot’s Lusty Month of May song, in which merrymakers prance about singing “It’s May! It’s May! The month of Yes, You May!” we’re giving ourselves permission to break a few rules.

 

 

Poetry Challenge #85*

“Yes, You May!”

With “Yes, You May” as the title, write a poem giving someone (or something)—maybe yourself—permission to be naughty, mischievous, daring—in other words, to do something he, she, it—YOU—would never, ever do. As this poem is a celebration of May, use flowery, colorful, provocative language. And, if you’re in the mood to be extra daring, give permission to go all out by having every line begin with “Yes, You May” . . .

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

As if you need permission

As if you need permission

“Yes, You May!” Playlist:

Lusty Month of May from Lerner & Lowe’s Camelot

 *Full disclosure: This is a repeat of #33. We had so much fun we decided to do it again, because…We Can!

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 750 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

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Poetry Challenge #82-Diamond in the Rough

 In the same way diamonds—the “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” gems/rocks/stones— come in many shapes, colors and sizes, diamante poems can be about anything.

Poetry Challenge #83

Diamond In the Rough

A Diamante is a diamond-shaped poem, simple as that. Diamante poems begin with a one word or syllable line. Each subsequent line grows longer by one than the previous line. The longest line is the mid-point of the poem. From there, the lines decrease by one until reaching the last one word line. The shortest Diamante has three lines of one syllable words.

Here’s a Diamante Frame if you prefer structure.

Here’s a Diamante Frame if you prefer structure.

One

Two words

One

Write a diamond-shaped Diamante about something you value.  

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1100-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #81 Don't Bother Checking Twice

Santa still snoozing at some sunny warm spa, recovering after the busy holiday season. So, while he’s otherwise occupied, no need to bother about checking twice—unless it’s to be sure you have ink/lead in your writing implement of choice—thus clearing the way for this prompt:

Poetry Challenge #81

Make a List

Although at first glance you might not notice, soooo many poems are list poems: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I Love Thee”, Billy Collins’ “Bread and Knife,” Shel Silverstein’s “Eighteen Flavors” to name a few.

In a list poem, you can list things you like (animals, colors, kinds of cars, playground games), signs of a season, tasks you have to do, items in a category, or what you’re going to do today.

Once you have your list, play with the order.

Choose better words that sound the same (maybe rhyme, or use alliteration).

Can you make the poem sound like it has an ending? 

Try writing a list poem. What are your plans for the day today? Or use one of the ideas above.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1100-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #80-Scribble Something

Really, would the tike in this pic do a naughty thing like that?

My love of writing can be traced back to when I was two-ish. As the story goes, I used my mom’s black mascara and lipstick to write on the neighbor's car! (And maybe blamed it on my brother… although he says I blamed it on him.) Nevertheless, a scribble is a scribble, and so we celebrate:

Poetry Challenge #80

Scribble Something

In honor of National Scribble Day* celebrated every March 27th,  scratch around for something colorful to write with: crayons, markers, colored pencils . . . lipstick—whatever you can find—and a piece of paper. Hold the writing implement in your non-dominant hand, close your eyes, take a deep breath and focus on whatever comes to mind. Then open your eyes and scribble—preferably on the paper.

A Nothing Scribble--or not…

Try scribbling whatever came to mind. if it was nothing, then scribble nothing. Scribble with 2-year-old abandon for as long as you can—at least 30 seconds.

Now, hold your scribble arm’s length away. While squinting like an artist (a beret might come in handy here), look beyond your scribble to what you drew. Write a poem about it.

*Not to be confused with National Crayon Day (March 31st).

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Scribble Resources:

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1050 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #77-Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

Sing-Alongs are always challenging—and sometimes embarrassing—even for me. (And those of you who know me, know I love to sing—badly.) The worst is when someone sticks a microphone in my face and I don’t know the words. That’s when I resort to the trusty mumble-mumble-murmer-murmer— la-di-dah-daaaaaaaa

My Best Friend’s Wedding  Classic!

My Best Friend’s Wedding Classic!

Songwriters who like audiences who sing-along— pirate ship captives & those wanting tips, for example—make singing along easier by writing song with repeated refrains—the more often repeated the better. Which brings me to today’s prompt.

Poetry Challenge #77

Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

“The chant poem is about as old as poetry itself,” writes Robert Lee Brewer in his Oct. 23, 2012 post. “Chant poems simply incorporate repetitive lines that form a sort of chant. Each line can repeat [as they do in Blues’ songs], or every other line [as in a Sea Shanty].” Sailors sang shanties as they rowed or heaved on ropes to keep everyone working at the same pace. It’s believed “Shanty” is a morphism of “chanty” meaning both the type of song and a name for the sailor who leads the singing. By way of an example, below is a Chant Poem Cindy created.  

Snow fell this morning, soft and white and cold,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I liked it more before I got so old,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I left the city a long time ago,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

Now I hear sounds of birds—the caws of crows,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.
— --Cindy Faughnan

Follow these three easy steps to create your own Chant Poem—Or “Shanty” if you will! 

  1. Find a headline in a newspaper or magazine that you like the sound of. That will be your chant.

  2. Write a four line rhyming poem where the first 2 lines rhyme and the last 2. AABB

  3. Insert the chant between each line of your rhyming poem and you have a chant poem.

“They know a song will help the job along…”

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1042 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #75-Anagram

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Have you played a game where you’re given some letters and you have to see how many words you can make out of them? Bananagram and Scrabble are two family favorites. For today’s prompt, let’s start there and push it further.

Poetry Challenge #75

Anagram Poetry

For today’s poem, begin with a title. Then, create a poem from words you can make by rearranging the letters in the title. You might want to spend a few minutes listing words ala an anagram game before you start writing. You can come up with your own title or use one from the list below:

A Walk in the Garden

Birds Fly over My House

The Bus is Late--Again

Snow Falls in Silent Forests

Here’s Cindy’s attempt:

The Last Time I Went to Town

The last time
I went to town,
the lawn was mown.
I lost a shoe,
the steam was mean.
It went to
a test to see what the mist meant.
Now was the time to stow meat low.
In the lost mantle, I settle.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1030 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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