SOL 18: Poetry Is…Revisited

Last week, Slicer Christie Wyman of Wondering and Wandering realized she was writing about a topic she’d written about last year. (Another nor’easter; my New England friends don’t even want to think about the new one brewing for next week!) Christie wondered, “do you have a slice from last year’s SOLC you could revisit because some things never change? Or maybe because they have!”

I had already been considering revisiting an exercise from Karen Benke’s Rip the Page: Adventures in Creative Writing. (Read another post inspired by this book here.) Here’s the explanation of  “Juxtaposition” (found on page 56) from last year’s post:

This exercise begins by folding a piece of paper in half lengthwise, then choosing ten words from one of the many word lists in the book. Next, add a descriptive word in front of each of the chosen words. Turn the paper over and follow the directions for what to write next. When you unfold the paper, write “Poetry Is” at the top. Try various combinations from the assortment of words and phrases you wrote until you find a “juxtaposition…two unlike things (side by side) to wake up your ears and make your mouth smile.”

In response to last year’s post I wrote, Some of these pairings aren’t really a surprise, but I liked the images they conjured.

I did not reread the last year’s poem before starting this year, but some images appeared again anyway. I guess those words and ideas are deeply ingrained in me. Last year’s poem is structured differently from this year’s poem, and I think I like it a little better, but this year’s poem created some images that deserve a poem of their own.

Poetry hides…

In gentle rains of summers past
In rippling, whispering waves
In the soft peaks of a lemon meringue pie

Poetry lurks…

under the slow drift of pale sunshine
inside the molten silver of Wednesdays
behind the secret of cerulean blue

Poetry lives…

inside a cosmic whirl of serenity
in the full moon of my imagination
within the quickening spark of my heart.

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

This activity is exactly what Benke’s subtitle promises: an adventure in creative writing. Students love it for many reasons. Some of the combinations turn out to be very funny. It also provides a structure that reluctant writers find comforting and supportive. Confident writers will appreciate the flexibility they have to play with the format of their poem. The possibilities are endless!

Photo by Jeff Golenski via Unsplash

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, Melanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

10 thoughts on “SOL 18: Poetry Is…Revisited

  1. Thanks for sharing the inspiration for your poem. This looks like an excellent exercise for students. Juxtaposition is one of my favorite techniques to teach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a first time slicer and I like the prospect of being able to look back at this month’s accumulation of thoughts and words. This exercise is an interesting one. Maybe I’ll find an opportunity to try it this month. Thanks for sharing the source.


  3. Writers repeat. Poets repeat in a new way every time. I must try this exercise; thanks for sharing.
    I love your poem–poetry hides inside us all, and we have to find it for ourselves.


  4. Love love love this, Catherine! I’m going to try it and will definitely let you know what happens! How did you know that “soft peaks of a lemon meringue pie” is one of my most favorite places to be? I make one annually for Easter. And cerulean blue is my favorite color and favorite color-to-say! The “Cerulean Top” speech from “Devil Wears Prada” is my favorite part of the movie! Here’s a link to it!


  5. Love the …”full moon of my imagination.” I worry all the tie about repeating myself and writing the same posts over and over. For instance my 13/31 post is just a reworking of an event that usually happens every March at our house.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just came here via Elisabeth Ellington’s blog. Such a neat exercise – thank you for explaining it so well. I love “the molten silver of Wednesdays.” I can’t wait to try this myself and with my students.


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