Friday, January 21, 2005

Julia Darlings Workshop

" Often we write too literally, too logically or self-consciously, when it is the imaginative connections--the leaps of faith, the connections between images and words--that are interesting to the writer and the reader. Poetry is an odd combination of creative energy and technical ability. In this exercise we are trying to let ourselves free fall, then working on the poem to give it shape. "

From the Guardian : Julia Darlings Workshop,15167,1383904,00.html

In her article, Julia challenges us to write a How To poem on something we have no idea how to do. She gives examples - How to Disappear, How to Talk to Tigers, etc.

So I'm thinking about all this. How to Stop a Train. hmmm, no there was a great poem on that in In the Palm of Your Hand. How to put my hand through wood. How to make someone be nice.

Yesterday I noticed a challenge on one of my workshops for people to go and look at a weird painting by Blake (Whirlwind of Lovers) and then write a sonnet. I paste the artwork into my computer desktop and look at it for a few hours and aha! I've got it. Ill do both at once and write a poem titled How to Survive a Tornado.

Here it is the, How to Survive a Tornado, Italian sonnet

How to survive a tornado

You'll need a heavy coat of metaphor
and fleece, some oil to keep you loose, and when
the winds thumb down upon your life pretend
to be a fish, transform your bones, explore
the bend, the slip of bodies fish adore.
There'll be debris as dreams and plans upend
and there'll be love, so spin your fins, extend
the feather of your gills and swim: for shore,
for light, the taste and press of scale to skin.
Be thin between the whorls and when the drain
begins, the suck to draw you in, you'll need
to be a seed: sharp husked, a thorn within.
The storm will rage, constrict and spit. When freed
put down your roots. They sky will break like rain.


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