The Event Poem: Tuesday Tryout

21 Aug

8:03a.m. — Atlanta

How appropriate. My cloud player is playing The Rascals singing It’s a Beautiful Morning. Hopefully it’s a beautiful some part of your day.

As I looked at the warm-up prompt a couple of days ago, I realised that maybe it’s more of a heat-up prompt. If you are expecting something gentle… ah well. Remember, as always, if you come up with a rough draft, or even a list, and you don’t want to publish it on your blog, because it’s too unfinished, then post it in comments, here. This is a working site and we are all constantly working on drafts. However, for you speedy ones, publish away on your blogs!

Today’s exercise has the virtue of being a form, without having been admitted to the increasingly lengthening list of forms. Further virtues: no rhyme scheme, no syllable count, no metre. Sound good? The form is taken from poet Ron Padgett [part of whose poem I use below, as an example] and is referred to as an Event Poem.

Your job is to make up new, creative, even fantastic, uses for something.

A) Look around you, or look around your mind, and choose something, to start. Maybe you chose a sunflower, a wine glass, a pillow… Whatever you choose, list four or five previously unthought of uses for it. Begin each use with an imperative — an active verb– as if you are listing directions for someone, as to its possible use.

by giniger

Pineapple (Ron Padgett)

1. Cut the leaves of a pineapple, use it as a soccer ball to kick into a goal.
2. Hollow out the pineapple, fill it with pebbles, shake it like a maraca and create reggae music.
3. Pluck out ten leaves, polish them, and wear them as fingernails to a Halloween party.
4. Cut out five of the little round lozenges on the pineapple skin and sew them on your jacket as buttons.
5. Peel the skins off 100 pineapples and glue them to the floor as tiles.

B) Add a couple of lines about how your chosen thing looks. Remember to begin each line with an imperative.

6. Look at the pineapple. It looks like the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
7. Stare at the pineapple. Do you see the face of the monster?

C) Bring in other sensory details. Add a line or two about how the thing feels, or smells, or sounds. Continue beginning each line with an imperative verb.

8. Touch the pineapple. It feels like a suede sneaker on the foot of a very large child.

D) Now you can play. You have your material. Add to it. Subtract from it. Yank lines. Rearrange them. Place them in any order you think sounds, or feels right. Leave the numbers, or not.

If any of you are panicking, as I panicked, because this is all about metaphor, I am here to tell you that you can do this [the wild and wacky version], but you don’t have to. Below is a draft of the first event poem I tried to write [over the summer]. You will notice that there is nothing wild and wacky. This led me to the conclusion that what we pick for this type of poem is important. My second event poem was more successful in the wild and wacky arena: I chose chinchillas. [I have submitted it, or that would be here as an example.]

Draft of an event poem ala Ron Padgett:

by MartinLaBar

Things To do With a Stone

Pick up a stone to use as a paperweight.
Dip the stone in water and watch the colours relume.
Look close at the stone and notice the veining that carries its story.
Hold the stone flat and tickle it across the water’s surface.
Stare at the stone until it speaks its beauty to you.
Polish the stone until it becomes a jewel.
Place the stone close to your nostrils; smell the sun’s warmth.
Rub the stone with your fingers; feel its blood pulse.

So go to it. I look forward to reading fresh and original uses for things, whether straightforward, or wild and crazy. Enjoy.

I shall see you Thursday for Your Serendipity; Friday, for the roundup; and next Tuesday for an image.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 21/08/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , ,

72 responses to “The Event Poem: Tuesday Tryout

  1. barbara_

    21/08/2012 at 9:54 am

    wow. that hangs for about a month

    • margo roby

      21/08/2012 at 10:04 am

      Barbara, it’s a gorgeous word, isn’t it.

  2. The Happy Amateur

    21/08/2012 at 9:59 am

    Fun! And I’m so glad you’re submitting – good for you! Consider bragging (if only just a bit) every time you’re published – it’s healthy πŸ™‚

    • margo roby

      21/08/2012 at 10:09 am

      Sasha, I had to laugh and feel abashed at one and the same time. I have two micro-chapbooks and around a hundred poems published in journals. I had that going before I came to this wonderful group and to working in the cybersphere, where we are all so close with each other’s statuses and work. I am not sure I will ever be able to get used to telling when I have a poem published [yes, I did just brag ;-)]. I’ll work on it.

      • The Happy Amateur

        21/08/2012 at 10:25 am

        Do work on it, could be a new topic for Thursday Thoughts, maybe?.. Or perhaps, a new category – Sunday Show-off?.. πŸ™‚ Seriously, I stumbled upon your micro chapbooks by pure chance, I’d love to know where we can find your work.

        • margo roby

          21/08/2012 at 10:58 am

          Now, I like that, Sasha. That’s one of the things I envisioned for announcements on Thursday Thoughts. I know Mark is being published and a couple of others. Hmmm. You think a more directed post. I’ll ask this Thursday if people will send me word and I’ll write it up, like the old-time newspapers used to: …and Miss R attended the tea at… πŸ™‚

          Most of my work is published in print journals, or I would be happy to direct you somewhere. I am usually reluctant to submit to ezines [although I will], because when they go down I lose my poems. Something in print will be around somewhere. Of course, an ezine is seen by more people… I’m working through that, too πŸ™‚

      • Annette Mickelson

        25/08/2012 at 11:57 am

        How are we going to know when to drink a glass of champagne and toast your success if you don’t tell us?!

        • margo roby

          25/08/2012 at 11:59 am

          Good point, Annette. I would hate to deprive people of champagne moments… maybe I’ll just announce that it’s a champagne moment without going into details πŸ˜‰

  3. vivinfrance

    21/08/2012 at 11:55 am

    Bravo for all the publications, Margo. Your prompt terrifies me, but if I can gather strength, I may have a go at it tonight.

    • margo roby

      21/08/2012 at 12:00 pm

      Thank you, ViV.

      You can do this prompt. Pick something like a needle. I can think of all kinds of crazy things, or straightforward yet still metaphorical things, for that. Whatever you choose, start by listing all the uses you can think of and when your brain involuntarily throws in something a little out there grab it.

    • markwindham

      21/08/2012 at 4:36 pm

      I’m with you Viv. My first response was …Huh? My literal mind might suffer on this one. A thing is a thing is a thing. it cannot be something else. πŸ™‚

      • margo roby

        21/08/2012 at 4:42 pm

        No? Look again at the pineapple! I do know what you mean. That’s why my first attempt was the one you see with the stones. Then, I tried with the chinchillas and it was off to the races. I have quite a literal mind. I have had this exercise for years and not been able to do it. This year, success. Do a straight forward one if your brain bucks at this.

        • markwindham

          21/08/2012 at 4:56 pm

          got a thought(ish), shall see where (if) it leads

          • margo roby

            21/08/2012 at 5:12 pm

            -ish is probably good. That should mean you are seeing beyond something. I did say should. Drink a beer. Might help. Can’t hurt.

          • barbara_

            21/08/2012 at 8:42 pm

            ? “Well… I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind. “

  4. PJF Sayers

    21/08/2012 at 12:40 pm

    Love the prompt, Margo. Not sure how I will do conveying the imperatives without sounding like an instruction manual. Though, I can see where this might lead to something interesting. I love your “stone poem”, it feels so natural and not instructive at all. Does that make sense? Well, I will see what I can do with this.


    • margo roby

      21/08/2012 at 1:40 pm

      It does make sense, Pamela. For now, write without worrying about the imperatives being there, or how they might sound. I think you will find that once you order the lines in the way that makes the most sense to you, that the imperative fades. In other words, while the verb is imperative, the tone isn’t, if that makes sense.


  5. carolisle

    21/08/2012 at 1:48 pm

    how much fun is this!

    write words on paper
    read and reread
    call them a poem
    share with your friends
    thank Margo for the great Idea

  6. markwindham

    21/08/2012 at 5:40 pm

    I have written…something. Which, in some cases, is far better than nothing. But not always.

    • margo roby

      21/08/2012 at 5:43 pm

      Too funny. Alright, I shall pop over.

  7. Hannah Gosselin

    21/08/2012 at 6:38 pm

    Oh my word!! Margo…I love your stone event poem….such a great way to become grounded…really delving into this timeless beauty!!

    Okay, I just copied the directions and I’m going to brainstorm while sitting in the bathroom watching the boys take a tubby…lol!! :)’s

  8. The Happy Amateur

    21/08/2012 at 7:26 pm

    I hope it’s crazy enough… By the time I finished writing, I myself wasn’t sure what I was writing about..can you guess? πŸ™‚

    See it every day – and see nothing
    Take a close look – see your features
    Feel its sizzling heat
    Trace its coolness
    Try its tricky twin – go flying
    Get it backwards – choose a bright color
    Let it sing – and star in the show
    Put its name in front of the crown – do not go there, won’t make you happy
    Take its name again, add a terrace (ter it’s called sometimes) – work some magic.

    • Hannah Gosselin

      21/08/2012 at 10:10 pm

      A mirror!! ? πŸ™‚ Love it!!

      • The Happy Amateur

        21/08/2012 at 10:19 pm

        Nope πŸ™‚

        • Hannah Gosselin

          21/08/2012 at 10:22 pm

          Awww…hmmm…ummm you probably won’t tell me…If I guess….how many times is it? And get it right will I get your first born child!? Ha ha…I’ll have to read again. πŸ™‚

          • Hannah Gosselin

            21/08/2012 at 10:36 pm

            You know like Rumpelstiltskin….no, no, no…that’s not my name…hmmm a bit too much cocoa in my night-time milk! πŸ˜‰

            • The Happy Amateur

              21/08/2012 at 10:55 pm

              Funny, my kids talked about Rumpelstiltskin at dinner – must be telepathy of some sort… I’ll tell you, but not just yet πŸ™‚

              • Hannah Gosselin

                21/08/2012 at 10:57 pm

                Wow!! Weird! I love those kinds of coincidences! I won’t hold my breath but I read it five more times…I’m stumped. πŸ™‚

                • The Happy Amateur

                  21/08/2012 at 11:19 pm

                  I was preparing corn on the cob, when the “inspiration” struck πŸ™‚ The word is “pot.” An aluminum shiny pot, to be precise. The tricky twin is the weed, try it – get high, go flying (not that I know anything about it…); get it backwards – choose a bright top; bang on it – star in “Stomp”; crown=head, pothead – don’t go there; pot+ter=Potter – work some magic.
                  It’s crazy, but it was fun.

                • Hannah Gosselin

                  22/08/2012 at 12:52 am

                  Wow…I love that…it’s like a riddle …really excellent and now I see it clearly! Thank you!

            • margo roby

              22/08/2012 at 8:25 am

              Uh huh πŸ˜‰ That’s in response to Hannah’s cocoa remark.

              Clever working out of the riddle, Sasha.

    • margo roby

      22/08/2012 at 8:24 am

      Your brain must work in wonderful ways. You came up with so much and I love that this fulfills the prompt, but as a riddle.

      Um, no, no I didn’t get it, but that’s okay. I never get riddles, ever. I note the answer is further down πŸ™‚

      • The Happy Amateur

        22/08/2012 at 10:01 am

        Thank you, Margo. It didn’t start out as a riddle, but I got tired of “pot” in every line and decided to follow point D) and play some.
        I’m afraid I flooded your thread with my chatter last night…you’re very nice about it πŸ™‚

  9. barbara_

    21/08/2012 at 7:58 pm

  10. vivinfrance

    22/08/2012 at 3:03 am

    I know this is not what you had in mind, but needs must when the devil drives:

  11. margo roby

    22/08/2012 at 8:20 am

    Good heavens! I go to bed and look what happens. Love the whole conversation with selves, or others. I shall start working my way through… after coffee. C’mon. You knew I was going to say that.

  12. whimsygizmo

    22/08/2012 at 2:35 pm

    Have missed playing with you all summer. Crazy schedule, crazy kids.
    Love this prompt. Here’s mine:

    • margo roby

      22/08/2012 at 4:28 pm

      Ach, woman! I have missed you like crazy. I figured it was summer. Glad to see you.

      • whimsygizmo

        22/08/2012 at 4:47 pm

        Happy to be seen. And back in the scene. And, occasionally, obscene. πŸ˜‰

        • margo roby

          22/08/2012 at 4:48 pm

          And, she’s back and in fine fettle!

  13. rosross

    23/08/2012 at 5:49 am

    Take the cup as offered,
    shake its sacred soul,
    hold the drift of memories,
    drink what does unfold,
    and in the doing linger,
    through liquid, languid thoughts,
    of leafy, bright camellia;
    the goddess blooming bright.

    I have no idea if this meets the criteria but I offer it anyway.

    • margo roby

      23/08/2012 at 7:35 am

      That’s okay, Ros. I have seen several poems go off on their own, this time, and like what each has done. This is lovely, lovelier with each reading.

  14. purplepeninportland

    24/08/2012 at 3:14 pm

    That was quite a challenge, Margo. Mine is up now.

    • margo roby

      24/08/2012 at 3:18 pm

      Alright, Sara. I’m on my way.

      I found it a challenge, too.

  15. Annette

    25/08/2012 at 11:38 am

    Mines up (finally):
    Clearly, I could never be a fantasy writer. Coming up with imaginative and creative uses for everyday objects was difficult.

    • margo roby

      25/08/2012 at 12:00 pm

      I’m with you on this, Annette, although I will be interested to know if, in the coming days, you find your mind strays a little more than it did. I’m heading your way.

      • Annette Mickelson

        25/08/2012 at 12:21 pm

        I do catch myself looking sideways at things and thinking, hmmmm, what else could that do?

        • margo roby

          25/08/2012 at 12:40 pm

          Next step: answer the question!


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