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Friday, February 24, 2012

Mary's Mixed Bag

Mary Oliver

Hi Toads,

Mary here! I have been pretty excited about my relatively simple writing prompt this week. Earlier this week (on the Toads' chatlog) I mentioned that you should take a look at poems by some of your favorite poets and collect a few favorite first lines or couplets. If you have done that, you have a good start.

Now take the beginning line or couplet and let it inspire you to write your own poem. Use the line(s) at the beginning of your poem, and take your poem in whatever direction it goes. You might be surprised. It will undoubtedly bear no resemblance to the original poem. I hope you will enjoy this technique as much as I do. There is no copyright on a few words in succession, but you may want to let us know anyway the poem/poet that inspired you.

I have chosen this prompt for us because it is one that has often worked for me when I can't think of what to write. For some reason, using a line or two of a poem by a favorite poet works wonders.


Charles Wright

Give it a try, and link it here, making use of Mr. Linky.  I look forward to seeing what each of you comes up with and will visit each  poem that was written specifically for this prompt and links back to Real Toads.  Hope you'll visit some of the poems that others share as well.

Mary

27 comments:

Mary said...

Hope you will give this a try. If my muse is uninspired, this is one technique I use to give her a 'jump start.' I will enjoy seeing how it inspires YOUR muse.

Robert Gibson said...

The last poem I posted works very well for this theme ... the first line is a slightly modified version of Dylan Thomas' first line "Do not go gentle into that good night." This is only my second attempt at a sonnet ever, so be gentle!

coalblack said...

i used a poem by langston hughes. i hope y'all enjoy it.

Teresa said...

What a fun challenge! Thanks.

Caty said...

Yay, thanks for this prompt, Mary...my muse has been asleep for a couple weeks; it's about time she wakes up! I'll see what I can come up with today! Btw, what a great picture with you and your dog

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this prompt, and will be back to do it and, hopefully, Kenia's as well. Terribly behind.

Herotomost said...

Couldn't help but pull out some Walt Whitman on this. Not sure how it turned out...but it did turn out.

Daydreamertoo said...

Very nice prompt Mary. I had a go. Mine's up. :)

Susie Clevenger said...

I am working on one...I usually don't do much tweaking, but this one is needing it...Hopefully I will get it up by this evening.

kaykuala said...

Mary,
Thanks for the prompt. It gives lots of leeway!

Hank

Mary said...

I have very much enjoyed seeing what people have written so far. Thank you all so much for participating in this challenge! Keep 'em coming!

W.k. kortas said...

I didn't use the opening lines of the poem I jumped off of, but I think I followed the spirit of the challenge, if not the letter.

Mary Mansfield said...

This prompt gave me one of those head-smacking "Duh!" moments. What a great idea for jumpstarting a tired muse! Loved revisiting some of my favorite poems and looking at them in a slightly different light. This is an idea I will most definitely be using again, thanks so much Mary!!

Kateri said...

Thanks for the prompt--that was fun.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I thought about this all day, but the only line that came to me was from Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, by way of a philosophical discussion. I tried to turn it into something bordering on the poetic, but perhaps it falls short.

Mary Ann Potter said...

Oh, I really liked this prompt, Mary! Not only did I find inspiration, but it also made me do a little research --- I wasn't familiar with the Tennyson poem that I used, and that made it even better for me. I needed to step out of the familiar!

Mary said...

I truly am glad that this prompt stretched people a bit. Mary Ann, I am heartened by the fact that you did a little research and used a Tennyson poem you were not familiar with before. That is often how I do this challenge (for my own writing). I sit with a stack of poetry books and go through them looking for a line or lines that resonate with me at THAT particular moment. I agree with the idea of stepping out of the familiar! That is what I had hoped would happen.

Mary said...

Mary M., glad you will be using this idea again in the future. It IS one of my favorite 'jump starts' for my muse.

Grace said...

Mary, I really liked this prompt. Have started to write but it is not yet done.

Thanks for sharing this "jump start" for our pen ~ Will certainly use this for the future ~

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this prompt, kiddo! Good one! This poem sprang straight from my heart onto the page and made me wildly homesick.

Heaven said...

Mary, I have combined this with another prompt..but this was a very good prompt for my muse ~ Thanks ~

Ella said...

Great prompt Mary! I hope to give this a go tomorrow~ :D

Isadora Gruye said...

Thanks for the challenge Mary. I posted late but felt it really helped getting my pen to start moving across that page.

Ella said...

I enjoyed this challenge Mary! What a wonderful idea, so glad you shared :D

Ella said...

Forgive me Mary, I see now beginning. I'm struggle with this damn tiny computer and a fever. I really did enjoy the challenge...perhaps I will try again

Caty said...

I'm a little late to the party, Mary...but thanks so much for this challenge. I did enjoy it!

myheartslovesongs said...

i'm sorry it took me so long to finish my poem, Mary, but this was such a FABulous prompt, i thought i'd link up anyway. thank you for some wonderful inspiration!