I loved it! It was beautiful, and very relaxing. The community felt very warm, but also quiet while I was there (over Christmas), although the malls were bustling. The ocean was so beautiful, as was the farmland beside it—some very much needed time in the sun before returning to Trondheim.
Andreas’ parents live in Kleppe, so we spent most of our time there, and I can’t wait to go back! It’s also seeming to be the place that all his young friends are moving to when they start their families, so it seems to be becoming very hip! :) Thanks for asking! <3
Edit: haugedal says we need to spend more time in the city-city! We were mostly in the suburbs. :D
Phew! That was a rush! Happy National Poetry Month!!
Here’s the final list of all the prompts/exercises I posted for National Poetry Month. Almost all of of them should applicable to both poetry and prose.
1. Newspaper Lines
2. The Poet Thief
3. Three Names
4. The Other Hand
5. Endless Lines
6. Lexical Sets
7. Oh No You Didn’t!
8. Letter(s) to God(s)
9. Civic Poetry
10. Landscapes You Have Loved
11. Dire & Mundane
12. Dead Poet’s Society
13. Overheard Conversations
14. Parameters & Process
15. Proper Nouns
17. An Address
18. Dead Metaphors & Waking Clichés
19. Fantastical Prosetry
20. Visual Metaphor Scavenger Hunt
21. I Ship Brangelina
22. Tip Of The Iceberg, End Of The Thread
23. Spectacular Vernacular
24. Wikipedia Surboart
25. Erasures, Auto-writing & Re-mixes
26. Object Metaphor & Re-upholstering The Chair
27. No Ideas, But In Things
28. Truth & Lies
29. Every Poem An Elegy Every Poem An Ars Poetica
30. Grab Bag of Exercises
And here’s a list of all the poems I generated for 30/30 or poem-a-day (linked in excerpt form). A few of them even made it into my thesis. Omigosh.
1. He Never Did Pay Back What He Owed
3. And I Will Never Tell Anyone What You Tell Me
4. Meine Geliebten Kinder
6. Maybe It Really Is Maybelline
7. Status II
8. Midland (Rockin’ Rodeo)
9. Ann Arbor
10. Because You Are A Sister
11. Of What Was Important To me In My Life
13. Sometimes The Dreams Make Me Angry
14. All Hail The King
16. Highway 285
17. River Rocks
20. When Does That Happen
21. They Named The Boat For The Son Who Died
22. Ann Arbor Wakes On Sunday Morning
23. Margarita Island
26. Everyone Loves A Beautiful Ironing Board
27. Y’all Ain’t From Here
28. Palpitations & Seizures
29. In Which I Recall The Flood As Pink Lightning
30. Cleopatra to the Scribe
I’ll probably try to keep going after this, and there are some subjects related to writing and the teaching of writing that I’m hoping to blog about further, but this was a great exercise (/marathon) and I’m happy to have generated some new work and shared some great exercises with you all. Please feel free to share around (please link back here!), and also let me know how you found the exercises and which ones were the most helpful to you or suggestions for more to feature! :)
Best, - K
Images: god-of-insects. Part of 30/30 and my own Prompt A Day for National Poetry Month.
Today’s exercise (okay fine, a bunch of exercises), in fact, the GRAB BAG OF EXERCISES.
1. Transliteration - Use transliteration to break out of your common language / vocabulary and to let go of / rely more nuanced-ly on grammar. Write a work of transliteration, with or without juxtaposing an overarching tone or concern. Try to let yourself get weird on this one. And try not to use languages you will easily recognize words from (go with Norwegian, hehe).
2. From Sam Milligan / Whittier Strong - Remove Punctuation / Line breaks - remove all punctuation, or remove all line breaks, and re-break/-punctuate. Recognize what is afforded by good line breaks / careful punctuation.
3. From Christi Lisk - Persona/Perspective - “I always try to write from the imagined perspective of someone I know. For me, it’s a lesson in writing and empathy. Jennifer Egan always emphasized the importance of empathy in writing.”
4. 1st memory - (a good CNF / fiction prompt as well as poetry) - Spend two minutes thinking back to your first memory. Freewrite for a few minutes in as much detail as you possibly can, everything you remember, get it down on paper. After this, go back and try to flesh out the details further, and see if a tone emerges. Use what is useful toward generating new material for a piece. Part II or a variation, juxtaposing a recent memory. Having written for a set amount of time about a first memory, next write for five minutes on a recent memory.
5. Exercises in Style - Using Raymond Queneau's “Exercises in Style" as a model, write a piece inspired by a certain "style" word, at will. You might begin this exercise by meditating on a painting, then applying the style word, then moving away from the visually cued subject. The visual cue at the start with help you access more unusual language than going straight to making things up on the fly. :D Sometimes parameters unlock things, in my experience with this exercise. (Examples: “mathematics,” “tangential,” “duality,” “red ripe”) - Thanks to Kerri Webster.
6. Exercise in personality. Write a piece in which every object in the piece has a personality. (further parameters if desired: perhaps the personality of the speaker or protagonist is not revealed except through interactions with these other personalities. Or perhaps not, you do you.)
7. Try writing a piece influenced by dramatic / playwriting.
8. Write a poem of identity. Consider some of these prompts or questions and/or do a little freewriting before you tackle the main poem itself.
9. Artifacts - gather a series of meaningful artifacts or objects you might make narrative out of. Similar to a meditation rock, consider and exist with these objects as you generate material, timed freewriting or what have you. Try to go much further than simply describing the object or the first memories it brings up, try to complicate your language and create spaces of opposition and nuance.
10. Inspired by some of the November PAD Chapbook challenges: Write a piece of birth. Write a villain piece. Write a piece that is the total opposite of a previous piece you have written (on this note, rewrite an older piece completely). Write a how-to piece. Write a stuck piece. Write about a piece of technology that doesn’t exist but should or that does exist but shouldn’t. Write a piece that scares you. Write a poem of protest.
11. What’s Been Untold - from Matthew Pascucci - “Here’s a very particular one I stumbled upon accidentally. Read “A Joke” by Anton Chekhov. After reading, write an interview with Nadya asking her to recall the incident and get her perspective. The exercise is partly about character creation but mostly about exploring what I call the negative spaces in a story. If you do this exercise in a group you end up realizing that there is a tremendous amount of space for Nadya to be almost any kind of person. That space is interesting to discuss. Here’s the story:http://classiclit.about.com/…/achekhov/bl-achek-joke.htm" (I’ve done this same type of thing for an entire chapbook with the character Kamala from Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. I also ended up indicting the writer a bit, in my case, Hesse, for the lack of her agency, and wondered what her enlightenment would have been.)
12. Write a poem/piece of dreams or from a dream journal (try writing down things as soon as you wake up or right before you drift off, keep the notebook near the bed for a week, etc). Or write a poem of voice.
13. Write down three men or women (pick gender for all three maybe) you’ve had conflicts with. Circle one and write to that person. You might try starting with the line ”You do not have to be good” after Mary Oliver (and as ever, you might remove that inciting line, later). Thanks to Laura Kasischke.
14. Write down three men or women (see above) you’ve lost touch with and still have something to settle. Circle one. Write to it. Thanks to Laura Kasischke.
15. Pick someone you don’t know and make an enemy of them. Write in first person (or don’t).
16. Try this as a daily thing for your notebook for a little while: write down three things in the last 24 hour period which you otherwise would forget about if you did not write them down.
30/30(!!!): Cleopatra to the Scribe
" … Bluebird, we loved you when
you still lead into desert, weren’t highway-
bound trimmed with prim sidewalks.
Our breath came fast as horses’ clouding over
every cold glass by which we measured
and let loose. Please calm down. Please
be my city. I said gritted and you wrote down
guttered. Why did you do that? …
…let me want to be
crushed leaves in your teeth, let me
demand a dowry. I want to hold you so hard
you whimper and purple…”
Today’s exercise: we’re dealing with forms and functions. Elegies and ars poeticas, advertisements and travelogues, etc, etc.
(1.) Examine several different poetic “forms” (outside the “sonnet, villenelle” type, more like, modes or pieces with certain aims or traditions): acrostic, ars poetica, elegy, aphorism, aubade, ballad (see also lullaby and other music-crossover forms), dramatic monologue, epic, epigram, epistle, ode, pastoral, nocturne, carpe diem, etc. Modify these forms or approaches, use your own, current vernacular(!), and use them as jumping off points. Remember to go back and remove the original conceit if it’s getting the the way later.
(2.) Try applying form as a framing element (or another way to juxtapose two ideas and get really dynamite content that works on multiple levels). Try to combine form and content in new and interesting ways, maybe ways that might even clash a little bit. Example exercises: Write an advertisement for the house you grew up in. Write a travelogue to the land of the dead. Write an elegy for Pop Rocks.
(3.) It’s been argued that every poem is an elegy, and/or that every poem is an ars poetica, because the nature of poetry is to commemorate what is already past, and because a poem is the product of the art of poetry and every product somewhat comments on its production, etc etc. What do you think about this? What are you attempting to elegize in any one poem, and how could poems you have written also speak to the act of writing? Double-duty language? In your revision process or when generating some new pieces, reflect on these questions. Challenge what an elegy or an ars poetica should look or sound like, the same way as in the other exercises.
Consider poems like Mary Szybist’s “Invitation” (as a strange kind of elegy, and also as an example of a form from the second exercise here, an ‘invocation’); and the nature of grief.
Alternatively turn the parameters or exercise or rules of your poem into the poem itself.
29/30: In Which I Recall The Floor As Pink Lightning
To the boy who held me
down, said Shh! Shh! It’s okay, and later,
went blind for congenital defect, not
for what he did, I have no complaints.
I’ve looked for alone time, hours, and only
found glib brambles in the mouth
of the off road. I know your apartment
letter but not which floor you live on.
One time I climbed on top of my sweetheart,
scooped in the seat of a white Ford
gritted and worn, and I said Shhhhh
and shit and we have to go get a
backup plan. The sand turned cotton
candy and felt roughly the same
in my teeth. He’s got a Korean wife
he brought back from Korea, these days,
she gets to be in all the pictures.
Every time I ask the elevators
to stop on my floor, I press the buttons
hard, thumbprints in a browned thigh,
skin-memory ghosted in white
like the numbness of my earlobe
once alive. Everything on my body
has been tested.
(This one I had as a title in my notebook for quite some time. Still not sure anything ever lives up to it but I’ve generated quite a bit from this title, and maybe I’ll put together all the little bits I’ve done from it into a better poem that does the title more justice, someday.)