Tuesday Tryouts: Altering Perspective

05 Jul

7:25 a.m. — Walnut Creek

Hello, all. We are in the middle of summer, or winter, and probably wishing it were the other. It all depends on our perspective, doesn’t it? Today’s exercise deals with perspective and may, or may not, result in poetry. What it will do is give you a way to approach a topic you want to write about.

Aside from point of view, perspective addresses the relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole; and the ability to perceive things in their interrelations or comparative importance. []

Pick an event from your life, or from the news. It does need to be something you know about and even, have an opinion about, although that isn’t necessary. You are going to relate the same event three times and you need to do it in the order outlined.

First, relate the event in one sentence.
Next, relate, or describe, the event in one paragraph.
Finally, write about the event in one page [don’t worry if it’s longer].

Notice how the event changes as you alter the amount of space you give it. Can you figure out what changes? How is each stage different? What significance does that have for us in the amount of space we give to a poem?

While an event is the easiest topic to try the exercise on the first time, you can repeat this with a place, an object, a relationship… Try one of these and see what a difference it makes to the subject you are writing about.

Pick one of the sentences, paragraphs, or pages and let it kickstart a poem. Or, try a poem for each of the stages and see what difference it makes. If this does result in a poem[s] I would love to see it[them], but if all the exercise results in is thinking, I would love to see that too. I would love to hear what you learn whether or not you have a poem[s]! If questions arise, ask!

I will see you all Thursday for bookmarkable sites; Friday for the roundup; and next Tuesday for a new form [I know you have missed forms]. If you think this post will interest someone, do click on the buttons below.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 05/07/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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23 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts: Altering Perspective

  1. TheMsLvh

    05/07/2011 at 11:14 am

    Here is a little free verse with rhyme.
    I don’t know where to share on this forum.

    Thanks, TheMsLvh

  2. wordsandthoughtspjs

    05/07/2011 at 12:33 pm

    Margo, how serendipitous, I started a poem two days ago about my perspective on Mexican legends. I still have some fine tuning to do, but it fits the prompt.


  3. margo roby

    05/07/2011 at 12:54 pm

    Very cool, Pamela! Can’t wait to read it. I would think Mexican legends would hold enough stuff to give you topics for a long time.


  4. pmwanken

    05/07/2011 at 4:20 pm


    I used my lunch hour to work on this exercise…I’ll send it your way! πŸ™‚


  5. 1sojournal

    05/07/2011 at 11:01 pm

    I have done the exercise many times. But, coincidently, We Write Poems is asking for a revision of an old poem. I did that and was surprised to be able to see my own perspective in all three pieces of reworking the poem. Thanks for all that you do and what amounts to a free, but intense, education,


    • margo roby

      05/07/2011 at 11:20 pm

      You are welcome, Elizabeth. I get a lot of pleasure from doing this and only hope the ideas keep coming.
      I have my We Write Poems response ready and am hoping the formatting works. I am reworking an old draft and trying to include notes rather than write them after. We shall see.


  6. vivinfrance

    06/07/2011 at 4:11 am

    I’m not happy with this – too prosaic. I’ll try again later, as I must go food shopping.

    One sentence We went to Seychelles in 1991 and stayed for two years.

    One paragraph: The decision to apply for and take up employment in Seychelles was prompted by Jock’s disillusion with the National Health Service as an employer, and the opportunity to take early (unpaid) retirement at 58.
    One page: etc etc etc

    A new dimension

    Great Britain,
    with the emphasis on Great
    and democratic,
    an illusion overturned.
    A smaller island nation,
    a dictatorship
    re-shaped our lives.
    Focus shifted closer,
    to survival on a shoestring;
    thankfulness for everything
    became the norm.

    • margo roby

      06/07/2011 at 11:06 am

      @Viv: needs sensory details if there is a way. Maybe a specific example of something that overturned the illusion and something for which you were thankful. You’ll know.


      • vivinfrance

        06/07/2011 at 2:02 pm

        I think I can do better – I know I can. But I wouldn’t start from here! Thank you, Margo. It’s now that I really regret the loss of our Seychelles journals in one of the subsequent moves. The sense and the sensory were all there.

  7. margo roby

    06/07/2011 at 2:53 pm

    That kind of loss is wrenching, Viv. But the sensory memory is there…somewhere. The trick, as with any memory, is finding which brain cell is storing it. Cook a Seychelles meal for dinner one night. You will be surprised what comes back.


  8. brenda w

    07/07/2011 at 12:04 pm

    Margo, Thank you for the prompt…I’ve been toying with a piece, but I’m not satisfied yet. I did the three writes you suggest, but the poem that keeps presenting itself to me completely lacks punctuation, and feels unfinished. I’ll keep toying with it, and let you know if it comes to fruition.

    I agree with Elizabeth about the educational value of your blog, Margo. Thank you for being a generous teacher. You rock!


  9. margo roby

    07/07/2011 at 12:11 pm

    Now you’ve put me to the blush, but thank you Brenda.

    They are interesting, the poems that ambush or hijack us. I don’t usually win. They are pretty insistent. I’ll look forward to seeing who wins this match. Wrestle that sucker.


  10. wordsandthoughtspjs

    07/07/2011 at 12:46 pm

    Margo, I see you read my poem, and thanks for the nice comment. I was in the middle of trying (I do mean trying) to format the lines breaks. I still haven’t gotten the hang of posting on WP.

    As for what Elizabeth and Brenda have said, I agree wholeheartedly, it is nice to meet someone willing to share their knowledge so openly. It is a pleasure to have met you.

    I see we are back to form poetry next week πŸ™‚


  11. margo roby

    07/07/2011 at 12:53 pm

    Pamela, what I do because it seems less of a hassle is to type up my poem in word or open office, copy it and paste it into notepad, wordpad…any of the pads! Then I copy it again and paste it into my wordpress. That works for regular linebreaks. I have not figured out indentations yet, but wordpress has poetry formatting in their help section. Let me know if you get before I do.

    The pleasure is equal, I assure you.

    And what a form. I’ll have to check to see if we have one more easy one, but if not, hang on because this form has me tearing my hair out. But, I have it semi-conquered, so I think I know how to approach it for us πŸ™‚


  12. pmwanken

    07/07/2011 at 4:11 pm

    Margo and Pamela:

    I have a response regarding formatting in WP. It’s full of PROs and CONs…and compromise. But I’ll share with you what I do…

    I have found that if I paste from Word into WP in “html” view and then switch back to “visual”, the formatting stays like I want it.

    However, if there’s something that requires a more visually-unique form (cascading indents), I type it directly into the WP box with the “preformatted” style selected. When I have tried pasting and then formatting, I inevitably end up frustrated.

    The only thing I don’t like about “preformatted” style is that it changes the font size and type. SOooo…if you want it to match the rest of your blog posts, you would need to insert some HTML code to set the font type and size. I’m not even a “beginner” at HTML…so this always gives me pause. But I figured it out once…then just copy/paste the code from that previous post! πŸ™‚

    By the way…if you’re typing a post in WP and hit the “enter” key–it double spaces as a paragraphy break. If you do “shift/enter” it does a line break. The “end breaks” do play a role in holding formatting for that line…determining if it has its own formatting or pulling from the line ahead of it.

    Hope that provides a little help!

    • pmwanken

      07/07/2011 at 4:24 pm

      Ugh! “…paragraphy…” !? πŸ˜‰

      • margo roby

        07/07/2011 at 6:12 pm

        Who cares? It’s brilliant, Paula. I can follow all of that. And I promise you, o youthful brain, that that is a compliment of the highest degree. Now I just need to write something with cascading indents so I can play! And the heck with different font type and size πŸ™‚

        And it’s well-paragraphed. This English teacher is proud to know you πŸ™‚


      • pmwanken

        07/07/2011 at 7:15 pm

        LOL, margo….don’t you mean “well-paragraphied”!? πŸ˜‰ …and thank you! I’m so proud to know you, too!


  13. margo roby

    07/07/2011 at 8:39 pm

    You may have a new word form. I like it, Paula πŸ™‚

  14. anjum wasim dar

    12/07/2011 at 11:21 am

    A Non Native English Teacher met a Native English Teacher-”your English is good, where did you learn it”

    NN English Teachers find it difficult to be recognized as ‘effective Teachers’.The standard of English language teaching and learning has fallen over the years, resulting in the need for Reforms.Ref (ELTR Program by HEC Pakistan 2003 till date).The reason I consider as major for the falling and failing standards is the absence of native Teachers in our educational institutes.Local teachers cannot produce good academic results as their proficiency level needs to be improved.

    Margo as a native Teacher of English , doing a great service to learners by guiding them on creative writing grammar and paragraphy”(an environment conducive to learning results in creativity-new words here)on line must reacher a larger number of learners, as internet access is not available on a large scale in the East, I find it is a loss for learners at least in my country.I have increased my knowledge of Creative Writing specially in writing poetry (that is the focus here)and one prompt which Margo just opines about as”I thought it would slow people down”has had just the opposite effect on me, I am not sure of others. One suggestion , a request to Dear Margo would be to lead us writers to ‘sales markets ‘if possible, and also to show us ‘how to deal with ‘writers guidelines’.Thank you, m .


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