Poetry Lessons…and Healing

The program for last Saturday’s Writers Forum meeting was how to Jump Start Your Writing With Poetry. WF member and published author Linda Boyden shared with the group some techniques she has learned for writing poetry that also give us great tools for other types of writing as well.

One of those techniques was called writing a Sensory Poem.

The first step in writing a sensory poem is to pick a topic. Then you brainstorm words and phrases for that topic from each of the five senses. For instance, suppose you pick the topic A Winter Day. You would brainstorm words and phrases that describe sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings that you would associate with a winter day. When you have collected a good number of words, grab a few from that list and shape them into a poem.

The beautiful thing about these techniques is that the rules are few. “How many words do you need to write write down from your brainstorm?” Enough to give yourself a good selection of words to choose for your poem. Some people might write ten words and then see a poem in them. Some people might write thirty or forty words and still have to play around with them like letter tiles on a Scrabble rack to find a poem. “Do you have to use all of the words that you brainstorm?” Only if you want to. That might be a fun challenge, but don’t feel like you have to. “Can I only use words from my list?” No, the words on the list are the bricks you will use to build your poem. You still need mortar to connect them and make them solid, right?

Don’t feel like you should be obligated to spending a lot of time on this, either. Think quickly and write, and then move on. This is, after all, intended to jump start your other writing projects. Once you have your creativity flowing with a poem, hopefully it will be easier for you to move onto your other writing projects with a fresh dose of creativity. It works for me!

Here is a poem that was written at the program by WF member Carolyn Faubel. Carolyn drew upon intense images from the devastating Carr Fire. Writing poetry about the disaster might be one way to help ourselves heal.

 

The Carr Fire

By Carolyn Faubel

9/8/18

 

Perfect black leaves are floating down into my back yard,

A strange snow of destruction.

Gentle and persistent, ashfall is silent,

Unless you count the dogs howling as fire trucks and police cars go screaming by.

 

Stinking yellow smoke moves from piney campfire to burning plastic,

And other smells that must not be named.

Everywhere, sharp unforgiving branches spray out, their protection

Blasted off by the monster’s breath.

 

From the dun dry fallen leaves, a soft

Sooty fragment of upholstery fabric

The size of a moth

Balances delicately.

When I pick it up, the light shows through the thin weave of

Carbonized black thread.

And when I stroke the tufts of

Black velvet,

It crumbles and disappears in the breeze.

Was it your couch?

I am sorry.

 

If you attended the program and would like to share your poetry from the poetry program, or even if you would like to try the exercise now and write a new poem, please send them to Writers Forum at writersforumeditor@gmail.com for posting in the future.

Thanks!

 

 

Advertisements

It’s Time to Read!

It’s time for our semi-annual Writers Forum Read Around.
Both members and the general public are invited to the Writers Forum to read a selection from their writings.
To remind everybody…
  • Readings are limited to five minutes. This includes any explanations for your piece you think you made need. If it takes you two minutes to set up your piece, you only have three minutes left to read. The clock starts when you get up in front. Plan accordingly!
  • Everybody is welcome to read, but Writers Forum members have priority and will read first.
Our Read Arounds can be the most popular meetings of the year. Writers have shared poetry, short stories, novel excerpts, essays, memoir, humor, and non-fiction. We have a diverse group. Come and support one another!

Read Around is also a potluck! Bring a finger-food to share. Remember…bring items ready to serve. We do not have access to the refrigerator or the microwave.

Writers Forum meets at All Saints Episcopal Church, 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA. The meeting runs from 10:30-12:30.

Wild Horses in Redding

Okay…not actual wild horses, but last Saturday (November 11), the Writers Forum hosted a talk from award winning author and wild horse advocate Terri Farley.

Terri presented her workshop on Nonfiction Writing for Fiction Writers. Her premise is that fiction writers collect an enormous amount of research while working on their projects, so why not  maximize the use of all of that solid research? Terri demonstrated research and documentation strategies for strengthening our nonfiction writing, and shared with us pitfalls and hazards to avoid.

About forty people attended the workshop.

I was curious about which of Terri’s passions came first: writing or horses? She doesn’t have a simple answer for that. She was riding horses before she started putting pen to paper, but on her earliest Southern California rides, she was already crafting stories in her head while on horseback. Unfortunately, horses fell by the wayside for a time. Writing and teaching took prominence for a while, but her love of horses was rekindled after college. They both merged in her first best selling series on The Phantom Stallion, set on the ranges of northern Nevada. The Phantom Stallion series has twenty-four volumes. Her passion for both continues today in her latest book, a nonfiction book titled Wild at Heart.

Terri is being honored tonight, November 16, along with two other inductees into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in Reno, Nevada.

Congratulations, Terri!

 

Our Pilgrimage of Poetry

About forty Writers Forum members and guests attended last Saturday’s meeting, a presentation by poet Anna Elkins of her workshop, ‘The Pilgrimage of Poetry’.

anna

Anna opened her presentation to likening poetry’s search for the right words and images to a pilgrimage. Participants were then given an assignment: Go outside and find something that interests you. Then capture the sensory images…from all five senses…you can of that thing.

By the end of the program, participants had crafted those images into poetry.

writing

Several participants shared those poems with the group.

reading

reading2

Here is the poem by WF Secretary Vickie Linnet:

 

The Little Library

You are another world, hiding in plain view from the rest of the world.

You are the chatter coming from the pages of the books.

You are the flowers and trees that surround your stand.

You are the raindrops that trickle down the shingles of your roof.

You are intriguing, luring us to enter and wander through the pages of the books.

Bring me the stories that tempt me to lose myself in.

I give you credence and appreciation for these books.

Vickie Linnet

If you were at last Saturday’s meeting and would like to share your piece from the workshop, send them to writersforumeditor@gmail.com .

 

Writers Forum Presents Poet Anna Elkins

Writers Forum will host a presentation tomorrow with poet Anna Elkins. Anna Elkins 2MB Crop for print

Anna describes her presentation as follows: “What is the difference between see and seek? What is the quest at the heart of the question? This session will explore where writing takes us by delving beneath our surface impressions to the underglimmers, the spirit-aquifers, and the paths of the heart. It is there—deep into the interior roads—where we make pilgrimage to the sacred with our words.”

 

This program will include optional audience participation with writing exercises throughout.

Writers Forum meets at All Saints Episcopal Church, 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, California. Doors open at 10:00 AM. The program runs from 10:30-12:30. Guests are welcome.

 

October Meeting Date Changed

Howdy. We would like to remind everybody that the Saturday Writers Forum meeting this month has been moved to the THIRD Saturday, NEXT week, the 21st. This was to accommodate the guest speaker, poet Anna Elkins, who was already booked for the second Saturday. We will resume our normal second Saturday meetings in November. Thank you!
 

Anna’s program will include optional audience participation with writing exercises throughout.

Anna introduces her topic with a quote from Richard R. Nebuhr. Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys. She describes her presentation as follows: “What is the difference between see and seek? What is the quest at the heart of the question? This session will explore where writing takes us by delving beneath our surface impressions to the underglimmers, the spirit-aquifers, and the paths of the heart. It is there—deep into the interior roads—where we make pilgrimage to the sacred with our words.”

Anna Elkins is a traveling poet and painter. She earned a BA in art and English and an MFA and Fulbright Fellowship in poetry. Anna has written, painted, and taught on six continents. Her art hangs on walls around the world, and she has published four books, including the poetry collection, The Space Between. Anna lives with her easel and writing desk in the mythical State of Jefferson.

Meanwhile, take a peek at our guest speaker’s website!
Anna Elkins 2MB Crop for print

March Program: RESEARCHING YOUR NOVEL

RESEARCHING YOUR NOVEL

 Don’t Let Them Get You

Writers Forum member Jennifer Levens has written both historical and contemporary novels. At our March 11 meeting, she speaks about research as it applies to historical novels for accuracy, and to contemporary novels for dates and accuracy of methodology. Levens explains how to avoid the problem of readers who write to the author about the slightest inaccuracies in a novel, or even worse, readers who put the book down unfinished and move on to another author. She will explain how to avoid this by using meticulous research to identify reliable primary and secondary sources. Jennifer Levens is a Master of Education who also holds a degree in English Literature. She is an actress, director, musician, writer and teacher who has been writing most of her life, and thinks making people laugh is the highest form of therapy.

The meeting is this Saturday from 10:30am-12:30pm at All Saints Episcopal Church in the Memorial Hall.  Doors open at 10:00am so that we can get started promptly at 10:30am.  All Saints Episcopal Church is located at 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA.

See you there!