The many poems of day #25 are based on this prompt from Hillary Kobernick:
Writing Prompt #19: Backwards and ForwardsThe goal of this writing prompt is to think about how to stay focused on the story you’re trying to communicate. When I was in a writing workshop in high school, a poet told me: “editing is mostly about removing words.” This prompt challenges you to do just that.Start with a draft a poem you already have. It should be long-ish. Say, 25 lines minimum. (If you want an extra challenge, start with a paper or chapter—it doesn’t necessarily have to be your own work.) Now, take the main theme/image/idea of that poem and reduce it to a kwansaba: a 7 line poem with 7 words in each line, each word no more than 7 letters. 7 X 7 X 7. Now, reduce it to a haiku: 3 lines, 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line, and 5 in the third line. (This is tricky because now there’s no more limits on how long the word is—you can use a 5 syllable word in the first line, if you want.) You may need to narrow your theme to one image or idea. Now, reduce it to a six word story, a la Ernest Hemingway. This is a one-line poem with just six words in it. It doesn’t have to be a story, but stay focused on the same theme.Take a breath. You can stop here if you want. But, just for fun, you can also go the other direction: take your six word poem and expand it to a haiku, then a kwansaba, then a longer poem. Add details you didn’t have in the poem you started with. Focus on a different part of the theme. Let the longer versions take you a different direction. You may end up with a new draft of the first poem, or eight new poems.
Here are the poems I wrote going from large to small:
1.“Write drunk; edit sober”.
Thanks for the advice, Mr. Hemingway.
It’s good to know there’s someone else
Who understands the
The barriers of sobriety and how they stop me
From exploring those parts of my mind
That most need to be exposed.
I don’t always want to face
what’s underneath this skull of mine;
I can’t always push past this without something
To blur the edges between my feelings and my filter.
This intimate recording on paper
Is sometimes like removing my clothes and
Then unzipping my chest
So that I’m naked and my heart is falling out.
And who does that sober?
But when I'm able to express something
I couldn't previously figure out how to say
or when someone understands something
I couldn't previously make them understand:
the cold and the angst are entirely worth it.
2.At the advice of a certain writer
I now “write drunk and edit sober”.
Tipsy, I unzip my leather bound chest
And expose my hear t to the masses.
When one of them follows my ideas
The cold and shock are worth it.
3.I remove my skin
To expose the gory truth.
The cold is worth it.
4. Drink to keep warm while writing.