Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for GROUND - Dictionary Hike

Photo by Amy LV

Students - I am in the middle of reading a tremendous book, IMAGINE: HOW CREATIVITY WORKS, by Jonah Lehrer. Reading this book made me wish to write a Shakespearean sonnet, to tie myself to a form and stretch ideas to fit this special space. In his book, Jonah writes:

The constant need for insights has shaped the creative process.  In fact, these radical breakthrough are so valuable that we've invented traditions and rituals that increase the probability of an epiphany, making us more likely to hear those remote associations coming from the right hemisphere. Just look at poets, who often rely on literary forms with strict requirements, such as haikus and sonnets. At first glance, this writing method makes little sense, since the creative act then becomes much ore difficult. Instead of composing freely, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints.

But that's precisely the point.  Unless poets are stumped by the form, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they'll never invent an original line.  They'll be stuck with clich├ęs and conventions, with predictable adjectives and boring verbs.  And this is why poetic forms are so important.  When  poet needs to find a rhyming word with exactly three syllables or an adjective that fits the iambic scheme, he ends uncovering all sorts of unexpected connections...

It is true. Writing a sonnet made me think new thoughts. My friend Katie's family used to speak in iambic pentameter, the meter of this poem. Hmmm...maybe I will try that. might consider writing in form this week too.

In case you are new here, this month, I am walking, letter-by-letter, through the dictionary, (closed-eyed) pointing to a letter each day, and writing from it. You can read poems A-E by checking the sidebar, and you can read Lisa's accompanying haiku at her blog, Lisa's Poem of the Week.

And if you did not visit yesterday's! Laura Purdie Salas shares a behind-the-scenes look at one of her poems from BOOKSPEAK! You can learn a new poem form and enter in a giveaway for this fantastic book on that post through Monday night.

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  1. "The world has luck enough to go around." Oh, how I do hope so. I never thought about what someone might wish if I left the penny on the ground. What a wonderful thought.

  2. "She'll know that copper wishes can come true..." I love that line.

    I am also participating in a poem a day challenge for the month of April. I must admit that I have taken the easy road on some of the various poem forms that we have been assigned. I should focus on really attempting each from and stretching for the rest of the challenge. Maybe I'll surprise myself.... :)

  3. I agree with Natalie--"copper wishes" is brilliant! This poem reminds me of Annie Dillard's autobiography, An American Childhood, in which she tells how she used to set up little treasure hunts with pennies left lying for someone to find. Bravo!

  4. I'm channeling Annie Dillard, too, Kate!

    Amy, I have IMAGINE sitting on my Kindle, waiting for upcoming airport and hospital hours that will want to be filled with the kind of reading it looks like this book will provide! Thanks for the preview!

  5. Yes, "copper wishes" is so lovely. I just went on a walk on this glorious spring day. I did not find a penny, but I did find this:

    Sub-Atomic Dance

    Our molecules
    know the drill: come-bind, unbound.
    Flame, water, air, ground.

  6. Now I need to read Annie Dillard! The book is on my is time. Thank you,everybody, for stopping by this weekend. Lisa - I feel as if we are dancing! a.

  7. A whole new way of thinking about that lucky penny.