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Prompt #144 In your own words

February 21, 2013

In your own words
We Write Poems:
That’s a common phrase, isn’t it?  And I suppose we think we know what that means.  Writers however have an invested relationship with language, something not to be taken for granted, unexamined.  Just as practiced writers develop a personal “style” of writing, writers also have a favored lexicon uniquely their own.  These words (or phrases) we feel an exceptional affinity for using.  Their full meaning is likely also more personal, with meanings that surpass the common use.  This is what we are going to examine this week.

Here’s the process, simplicity itself.  Read and observe some of your own poems!  Select a (more or less random) group of about 10 poems.  Read and watch for words or short phrases that get repeatedly used (no, not in every poem of course) over the range selected.  Yes, this may take a few readings to “see”.  Or maybe a bigger sample group.  Underline or circle possibilities as you read.  You may come to notice a slightly stronger emotional response to certain words; that’s a big fat clue!  Maybe some words you already know blindfolded – after all, they are already familiar within your thoughts.  When you feel done, you should have a short list of words that resonate for you.

Here’s the poem to do.  Pick one word (two at most) from your list and write a poem that examines and expresses the meaning of that word (or words).  No, not just a common definition – we all know that.  But how does that meaning “know you by name”, what’s the deeper meaning, the way “you mean” that word?  Don’t rush.  By looking, maybe you’ll find even deeper texture, what you don’t always even tell yourself.  Allow quiet feelings and images room to emerge.

Do you remember reading other writers poems and realizing an unexpected new twist or depth of meaning in our shared language?  That is where we are inviting you to observe, to become more conscious of what language means in the most personal sense for each of us.

Come back to leave a link to your poem next Wednesday when you see our second follow-up post called, It’s Post Your Poems Day!  If you have questions about We Write Poems and our prompt-and-poem process, or if you are new here at WWP, please read our about page.

  1. February 21, 2013 6:33 am

    That’s a toughie! One of my most used words is ‘joy’ but I also tend to ‘gloom’ – This is going to make a most interesting exercise.

  2. February 26, 2013 1:26 pm

    Wow. Viv said it well…this has some depth and layers to it, Jules!

    • February 26, 2013 1:26 pm

      Oops, sorry…just looked…should have said, Neil above…thank you for the prompt Neil!

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