Tuesday, August 4, 2009

SIMPLE Poetry Exercise

Here’s a very simple writing exercise you can do any time.

What you’ll need:
• paper
• cover stock (can use another kind of paper in a pinch)
• long-arm stapler (or another binding implement)
• rubber stamps (e.g., alphabet letters) and ink
• pen

Essentially, in doing this exercise, you’ll be making a chapbook, of sorts. For my example, I’ll be making a digest-sized book (5 ½” x 8 ½” which is the size of standard letter paper folded in half). Start with your cover stock (or whatever you’re using for the outer “cover,” which should be at least as large as the inner pages); lay that down on the table. On top of that, stack pieces of paper for the inner pages; each sheet will be four “pages” in digest size. Now, fold the cover stock and other pages in half so that that cover stock is enclosing the other pages, and fasten/bind the pages together at the fold. (Helpful tip if you’re using a long-arm/saddle stapler: Set your guide at exactly 5 ½” and staple BEFORE folding . . . once near the “top” and once near the “bottom.” That way, your pages will stay aligned while you fold.)

You should have a blank, digest-sized book at this point. Ready to write? No, you’re not. You need titles. Use your rubber stamps (or bourgeois markers) to give your “book” a title on its front cover. Yeah, not done yet. You need titles on the other pages. Now, you can start right on the first page (inside the front cover), or you can decorate that page . . . maybe give it a number, or echo the cover title? Have other cute stamps, like hearts, or flowers, or skulls? Your call. Me? I start with the third page (second right-hand page), using my rubber stamps to put a title up top. Now, continue through the book titling the pages. Every page? Every other page? How large is your handwriting? How much to you have to write to complete a thought or three? If you don’t have any preference, start on the back of page three and put a title at the top of every left-hand page, leaving the right-hand pages blank. That way, you’ll have two nearly blank pages per title. The LAST right-hand page (right before the back cover) . . . I like to leave that blank. That way, the last “poem” gets more room. You’ll see. Might be helpful. Or just more space.

NOW . . . you’re ready to write. See? Simple!