Poetry by Roger Weaver

Poetry Handbook Excerpt

(From page 28 of
At the Stars; a Handbook for Poets, 2003, ISBN#0966621557) ($15 in the U.S., $18 elsewhere)
Currently out of print.

Writing Exercises or Prompts for Poets

You have your grandmother or grandfather all to yourself on a beautiful Saturday. Either is feeling well and able to do things. Tell what you are going to do together. (You could also pick your own person and conditions under the larger topic. “The Ideal Day with a Favorite Person.”)

{The advantage here is to begin the writing process and be open to digressions. Digressions often lead to poems.}

List foods that reveal negative (and positive) parts of friendship and love (peanut butter and honey, etc.).

Following the title “How to Flirt” or “Rules for Flirting,” give a good example or list of this sometimes silent and satisfying human behavior.

Create recipes for Joy or Sorrow, listing specific activities or images for ingredients. Don’t forget amounts.

Which human activity is your favorite to watch? Make a verbal sketch of a single individual performing it, trying to capture the actual movement and the way the individual rendered it. Remember that spacing is important in Free Verse.

This is a limbering up exercise. What is within you that is always interesting? Begin with a word charged with energy, perhaps a gerund like “flowing,” or “lashing.” The important point about such a beginning word is that it is an action that has been slowed down to function as a thing in a sentence.

Write a description of an outdoor setting in free verse. Focus every detail on creating a certain atmosphere, such as a lazy, dreamy setting, a dark, frightening setting, etc.

Write a Free Verse description of an object, person or setting from the point of view of three different speakers. You may want to use a different stanza for each speaker.

Write about an animal in terms of human emotion or experience. (This is an example of the Pathetic Fallacy, a term coined by John Ruskin in 1856 in , Vol. III, Chp. 12.) Its opposite is Negative Capability, a term coined by John Keats and explained in the Glossary.)