Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer Rerun #7 – Memory's Toyshop

Originally  Posted Saturday, August 28, 2010

When I was little, there were no media-linked toys, iPods, laptops, or cell phones. For many children of my era, the toys we loved best were little green plastic army men, Hula-Hoops, Slinkies, Ginny and Barbie dolls, Play-Doh, and Mr. Potato Head (played with real potatoes). However, any toy, from any era, will be great for this prompt. 

First, think back to your childhood and recall a toy that was special to you. “Freewrite” about that toy for a few minutes. How is this toy the memory-trigger for a past experience and/or relationship? Write a poem about (1) the toy, (2) about a memory triggered by your recollection of the toy, or (3) about a person you associate with the toy. Alternatively, you might write about a toy that was special to your child or to a pet. You might enjoy writing a persona poem from the perspective of a toy. It's playtime!


By Linda Radice

The kid in the commercial had straight stairs 
for the coil to work its way down. The three

story staircase in our house had landings that 
turned. My slinky required a nudge around 

corners, but guided close to the railing it went 
smoothly past Uncle Joe who came to visit 

great-grandma every Thursday afternoon, and 
slid by my grandfather in his gardening shoes at 

sun up. I could make it glide with my father’s run 
when the fire whistle called him to the station, and 

work it around my mother – the constant between
each floor stepping quickly, my brother on her hip, 

to check on my grandmother after her stroke.  
The staircase and the house around it are for sale,
the rest of the people who walked there are gone,
sixty years of footsteps that wore the wood smooth.

I perfected Slinky’s twisted descent long ago – the kid 
with the straight stairs has nothing on me.

Copyright © 2015 by Linda Radice. All Rights Reserved. 
From What We Can't Keep (Little Poodle Press, 2015).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer Rerun #6 – Color Your Poems

Originally Posted, Saturday, August 21, 2010

For your color poem:

Begin by taking a “color inventory” of your life. What colors do you like to live with? If you had to live with a single color what would it be? What is your favorite color? What colors do you associate with the best or worst times of your life? What colors do you associate with people, places, experiences? Following are ten possibilities for color poems:

1. Write a poem about a color without naming the color and without using one of its synonyms (for example, don’t use “crimson” in place of “red” or “azure” in place of “blue”).

2. What color is your life? Write a poem about your life’s color(s). 

3. Write about an experience using colors to set the “tone.”

4. Compare a relationship to a color.

5. Compare a person to a color. 

6. Compare your job (or creative work) to a color.

7. What is your life’s “rainbow?” 

8. Write a poem about a place (scene, landscape) and use colors to highlight descriptions and details.

9. Think about implied colors as in Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” Wordsworth only mentions “golden” once, but the sense of “yellow” is strongly present throughout the poem. Try this in a poem of your  own. Click Here to Read Wordsworth's Poem

10. As an alternative to color, write a poem about something colorless. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summer Rerun #5 – Summer Reverie

Reverie: absentminded dreaming while awake; 
a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts.

Originally Posted Saturday, August 14, 2010

For me, during these “dog days” of summer, reverie means sitting in my gazebo (with my Yorkie next to me) and being “pleasantly lost” in thought to the music of birds, crickets, and cicadas. Sometimes my “absentminded dreamings” become poems.

For your reverie poem: 

1. Take a walk, lie on the grass, lounge in your favorite lawn chair (or, if the outdoor weather isn’t cooperative, relax on a sofa or other comfortable place in your home). Any time is fine, but try doing this in the morning or evening.
2. Keep paper and a pen or pencil nearby. 
3. Simply unwind, free your mind of distractions, and let yourself daydream. 
4. Write down some of the things that come to you, and don’t try to organize your thoughts. 
5. Later in the day (or the next day), go back to the notes you took during your reverie and look for inspiration. Is there something there that you can develop into a poem? What did you daydream about? What did your reverie bring to mind? Instead of one poem, you might find material for several short poems or a sequence of short poems. Your reverie may take a traditional, experimental, or fantasy form (and it's not necessary to use the word “reverie” in your title.