1. Shards of Memory (From Kowit)
a. Around 1981, 1953, 1978, 1979, 1972, 1962, 1969, 1963 etc
b. Do this with people you have kissed.
2. You are…
a. Write a detailed description of an object: a boat, a tree, a bottle, a shoe etc. Make it vivid for the reader.
b. Begin the poem with “You are…” and imagine a loved one as that object.
3. Common Objects: List several objects around you. Next, choose two of those objects. The first object is in love with the second object. What are the object’s inner lives like?
4. Mom Told Me Every Story But This One
a. I married him that day in class/And never said a word
1. To My Fourth-Grade Love (Margaret Chilton)
a. For me, it’d be 3rd Grade, Sunny Senters
2. You, part two
a. Instead of an extended metaphor, try a list of them
i. You were….You were….You were….
Read “Homage to my hips” by Lucille Clifton. And then write a sexy homage to a body part.
If only we could like each other raw.
If only we could love ourselves
like healthy babies burbling in our arms.
If only we were not programmed and reprogrammed
to need what is sold us.
4. Riffs for My Father (What I Won’t Forget)
1. You’re Beautiful Because…I’m ugly because….(with Audio)
a. The poem does not have to go back and forth exactly
b. Try sestets
2. Neruda wants to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
a. I want to do with you what _________ does to _____________
b. I want to do to you what a _____________ does to a ____________
3. Brainstorm a list of mundane actitivites not usually thought of erotic—washing the dishes or the car, mowing the lawn, going to the dentist. Now, make a list of nouns associated with that activity. Then make a list of verbs and adjectives that you associate with sex. Stir everything together, and make the mundane activity sound positively orgasmic.
4. Strawberries: There was nothing better/than watching my father/slice strawberries into a soup bowl/
1. The Changed Man (Woman): If you were to hear me…If you were to see me…Because of you I….Because of you I’m...I’ve become a changed man.
a. Try tercets
2. My Heart
a. That Mississippi Chicken Shack
b. Load it up with sharp/quick metaphor
Quick Muse “The Act”
4. Do the above exercise but this time eroticize a landscape, like Hillman. A field or rocky bluff will do, but also try something nontraditional—a scrapyard, an empty parking lot. Again draw your nouns from the landscape, your verbs and adjectives from sexual words.
1. Ex-Boyfriends (or Girlfriends)
a. Try it in tercets
2. He Attempts to Love His Neighbors
3. Magellan Street 1974
a. This is the year you….Two stanzas looking back. Last, short stanza, in present day?
4. The Problem Was
1. Love Stinks: What does love look like. Sour milk, a dead or dying animal, rotting plums, a casino under the wrecking ball? Write about a relationship that didn’t work out, developing one or several images. Try “Love is” as a way to begin. (Bukowski says, Love is a dog from hell).
2. Highway Five Love Poem
3. Another Kind of Desire: Now write a poem about a lust that is not erotic. Is there a food that you find sinfully delicious, a certain fresh spring smell or sight or piece of music that moves you rapturously every time you hear it? Perhaps it is a lust to lie quietly in a hammock in the courtyard of a house you haven’t seen for years, or for a cold glass of fresh water late at night, or a lust to hear the voice of your aging mother over the phone.
a. Begin this poem with the phrase “stolen” from another poem in this chapter. For example, you might select, “All they had said…” or “Somewhere in a field…” or “When my body finally gives in to…” Use that as a jumping-off point. Do not preconceive this poem, but let it find it’s own direction as the writing proceeds.
b. Book lust, Real Estate Lust, Red Wine Lust, Mercedes Lust, Rib Eye Lust…
Ekphrasis—Barnard’s Nudes and Cezanne and the Love of Color.
1. Daily I Fall In Love With Waitresses/Mechanics.
a. Who do you fall in love with “daily”?
b. Barista? UPS Guy? The child walking home from school. The house on the corner. The wind in the birch next door.
I love you—not
a. Write an ironic “I love you” poem: I love the way you never return my phone calls, I love you when you invite me to a party and then ignore me all evening.
3. What Do Women Want? (try Men, try crossing genders?)
4. For the Life of Him and Her
a. Try it in long line quatrains
b. Try it with repeating words at line ends (party, wear, party, wear etc)