Friday, October 24, 2014

Dear Brain, - Free Verse Letter Poems

 Whole Brain & Right Brain
Photo by Mark LV

Holding a Real Brain
Photo by Mark LV

Students - On Wednesday, my husband and I went to a great event called Love Yer Brain put on by Hallwalls, the Buffalo Museum of Science, and the UB College of Arts & Sciences.  It was an evening of talks about the brain, by scientists and artists.  It so fascinating that the two of us just cannot stop talking about it.

Dr. Christopher Cohan even brought two real brains, and as you see above, he allowed us to hold them.  It was humbling, and I stood in awe and gratitude, holding the brain of someone I would never know, would never talk to.  Someone who donated his or her body to science.  I thanked the brain in my hands.

The next day, I wanted to talk to my own brain.  I began to imagine a letter to my brain, and I have started the letter here, knowing that there might be more later.  As I wrote, I loved the idea that while I'm writing the poem about my brain, it's really my brain writing about itself!

This is a free verse poem, and when I write free verse, I often write a line or two and then read the poem so far, aloud, to myself...listening for the next line or two.  This process repeats itself line-by-line, through the whole poem.

Once again, I am reminded that it is stimulating to go new places, read about new topics, dive into new experiences.   There are many free and fascinating opportunities in the world, and we can fill ourselves easily with the offerings of others.  This, in turn, gives us more to think about, more to understand, more ideas to play with in our writing,more to offer to others.

I encourage you to try something completely different this week. Read a totally different type of book.  Eat a food you usually don't eat.  Sit in a quiet place outside and just stare.  Listen carefully to someone you often don't listen to.  Stretch your brain.  After all, we each only get one.

And if you'd like another writing exercise to try...try writing a free verse letter poem.  Choose something - anything that fascinates you - and write a letter to it.  You might surprise yourself.

Cathy Mere and her wonderful brain are hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Merely Day by Day.  There you will find all kinds of poems, poetry fun, and all are welcome to leave links to share.  We're a friendly bunch in here, and if you're new to Poetry Friday, I hope you will come back!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. It is amazing that writing to your brain means your brain is doing the writing-Huh! I've had students study the brain all through the years, fascinating what we know today, & what we still don't understand. Love your letter, Amy!

  2. Amy,
    Wow! A once in a life time experience. So glad you got to go. I loved that you gave thanks for the brain and used it as a springboard for a poem.

  3. This seems like the week of the brain for me- a friend's 18-year-old had a seizure and had to have a tumor (thankfully benign) removed. He'll be ok, but will spend part of his senior year in high school undergoing rehab to learn to talk and walk all over again. I love how you have translated this amazing organ into poetry. Trying to think what new experience I would like to try this this week. Thanks for the inspiration…

  4. Amy,
    You continually inspire me. This free verse was such fun to read though I think it reminded my brain of how much power it has over me. LOL

    These words are so true:

    "Once again, I am reminded that it is stimulating to go new places, read about new topics, dive into new experiences."

    Thank you,

  5. Nice, Amy. I love that first image of memories folded like origami cranes.

  6. Wow. To hold a brain in your very own hands. Wow.