Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Words Count With Mama Zen

Good morning, Toads!

Welcome to Words Count with Mama Zen, a new monthly feature exploring the oft unappreciated art of not writing.

What?

No, seriously.  How many times have you read a poem that would have been stellar . . . if it had not dragged on for six more unnecessary stanzas?  How many times have you been the guilty author of that poem?  There are thousands and thousands of tips out there to get us past writer's block, but little or nothing about how and when to shut the hell up.

Here, we will work on it together.


Let's get started with a little challenge.  Poets are often accused of living in their own little worlds.  So, tell me about yours . . . in thirty-five words or less.  Free verse or form; your choice.


29 comments:

Fireblossom said...

You crack me up, MZ. But you're right! There is nearly always a shorter, better way to say something. Just ask the savage chickens!

And of course, your biggest fan thinks it's very cool that our own MZ has a challenge here at Toads now!

Susan said...

What fun! Good Morning from Philadelphia, USA! My first take is true, but I think I'll also go back to the drawing board to see if I can string a few gems together and come back with a necklace that adds sparkle.

Laurie Kolp said...

I'm so glad you are challenging us now, MZ. I have long been a fan of your brevity and I look forward to what you have planned.

manicddaily said...

You are absolutely right. I have long thought there should be a prompt (and maybe I'll do one) of taking almost any poem and cutting it by a minimum of 15%. Maybe not yours, MZ.

For me, it's a bit hard (ha!) because I really am a prose writer, not poet. But even prose should be pruned.

k.

Marian said...

giggle! also: SRSLY.

Ella said...

Fun challenge MZen! Sometimes I know, when I do this, lol

Sherry Blue Sky said...

ACK! The most difficult challenge of all. But so much fun!

Mystic_Mom said...

Loved this! What fun.

Teresa said...

Loved this challenge, and I had to chuckle because I have had that exact thought about a poem being great if only I had quite five stanzas sooner. :-)

Mama Zen said...

Thank you all for showing up! I hope that you have fun with this.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is such fun!! I'm loving the responses, both in commentary and in the poetry.

Tania A said...

Yikes, this was not as easy as I thought it might be, with my penchant for short poems. Great prompt!

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
flipside records said...

That little cartoon is hilarious. And this is one of the best prompts ever. :)

Kay L. Davies said...

Well, if anyone knows brevity, it is Mama Zen. She's fabulous. I will try, but I'm such a chatterer...
K

aprille said...

Can't get much snappier than yours :-)
Good bit of fun.
Should be a Limerick in there somewhere or a haiku. I'll take it for a walk and see what floats about the smell of haymaking.

Hannah said...

Mama Z!! So funny, your remarks! I enjoyed this greatly!! Thank you!

flipside records said...

A prompt like this can really make you aware of unnecessary words like conjunctions, pronouns, and articles. It's very smart to cut words, at times, in order to present engaging poetry.

Susie Clevenger said...

I love this challenge. I am a fan of less is more. I should learn to use that when I talk. lol

Willow said...

Oh how fun!!

Kay L. Davies said...

Oops, missed part of the challenge: to write about our worlds.
I wrote something, yes, today, thinking about brevity, but it wasn't about my world today.
So I tried again.
K

manicddaily said...

Hi MZ - I realize that I did not fully understand the prompt (or maybe subconsciously did), thinking immediately of words rather than worlds, perhaps because thinking about it at work all day which is a world of words in my job. At any rate, agh. It's short! And does describe a world of sorts of mine. k.

Mama Zen said...

I really enjoyed reading these. Thank you all for participating!

Kateri said...

I had already posted a poem on my blog earlier today--but this prompt was too good to pass up. :)

Vaishali Jain said...

Woah! This was cool Mama Zen. I had to actually work hard cutting those words down. :D

izzy said...

I found this Thursday and love a good challenge- 35- seemed good!
so I joined late but it was fun :) thanks!

Sharp Little Pencil said...

This was the second "brevity" challenge of my week; however, the first was any subject. This one proved harder, and I think a lot of us may have struggled to distill ourselves, but it's good to look in that mirror now and then. Thanks, Mama! Peace, Amy

vivinfrance said...

I've been missing all week, but I couldn't help laughing at this prompt: I'm always banging on about less being more and the necessity of being brutal in pruning our poems. My response is to give you the link to my Trifecta poem of the previous week. I'll be back to read later.

angie werren said...

hello! I just stumbled into this garden (from margo roby's blog) and I hope it's okay that I jumped in. I've been looking for something to inspire me, and it looks like fun in here!