This past week I’ve been doing a lot of work on my poetry thesis: organizing it into three possible orders and working out themes and sections and all that. Each time I’d figure out one potential way into the manuscript, I’d take a break to finish a collage / poem.


Diversions like experimental writing can be quite useful for the writer–especially the writer who is entrenched in a project. I’d go as far as to say this is the most lovely stage of editing: the diversions.

While the writer’s intention is not to be taken lightly, neither can the freedom from intention be underestimated.

Once I had finished my own three potential thesis organizations, I set that MS aside and read through this little red book (the one being documented through this blog), as it currently stands.

In keeping with the quirkiness with which I approach all book reading in general, I read it back to front. This only served to prove to me how objective the writer herself is able to be when approaching even her own experimental writing. I read it as if it were not mine at all. (Of course this is the goal of much editing, but usually it takes some premeditation; in this case it took none at all.)

17-the-riverkeeper-2This has all been a very long-winded way of saying: try experimental writing. Try to simply let go of your go-to themes, tropes, motifs, and languages, and allow another possible voice to impress itself upon your work and infiltrate your writing.

With all of that in mind, please make a poem that intentionally takes on a voice you are not accustomed to using.

I am recalling a remarkable teacher who once gave a prompt to this effect:
“If you usually whisper, shout; if you shout, whisper.”
(Thank you for that, Sun Yung Shin.)

Use a magazine and glue if it suits you, but Feel Free to accomplish this with pen and paper. I must insist that you Do Not use a computer.

If you are used to writing on the left side of your page, try writing on the right hand side.
If you use a pen, try a pencil. If you are so inclined, use markers or crayons.
Make your physical marks on the page different from the marks you tend to make.