Poem Tryouts: Rashomon

11 Nov

8:14 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Run by Snow Patrol

Hello, everyone. Another gorgeous day outside. There are rumours of an early snowstorm in the Midwest which will bring our temperatures plunging by midweek. As long as the sun shines. Hey, NaNoWriMo-ers! You should still be in fairly full throttle, so let’s see what we can find to help you along. You can apply today’s exercise to your plot, or use it to stretch. Poets, think of this as a possibility for a dialogue poem, or a counterpoint poem.

We’re going to play Rashomon today. For those who don’t know the story, it appeared as a Japanese film known for a plot device which involves various characters providing alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident. If you are interested in more [I think it will make the exercise clearer], I have included a link to the least confusing plot summary. We are going to have two possibilities to work with:

1] Think of an incident that involves other people being around, as participants and witnesses. Have each of them tell their view of what happened. You will need to know who each person is, at least as far as occupation, and how they are involved. The incident can be from your life, the news, or made up.

2] Alternatively, have one person recount an incident to five different people. You will need to know who the people are and their relationship to the speaker. Think about it: do you tell a story the same way to your partner, your best friend, your mother, a reporter, a policeman, your employer?

This gives you a chance to play with voice, as well as point of view. Have fun with this when you decide how to structure the piece, whether narrative or poetry. In terms of a poem, you may certainly cut the number of people involved.

Wow! Short. So rare. I will see you Thursday for more on narrative writing; Friday for the roundup; and next Tuesday for another of my narrative prompts.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 11/11/2014 in exercises, poetry, writing


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14 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Rashomon

  1. Misky

    11/11/2014 at 10:22 am

    I used PA’s word ‘timeless’ but wrote to your prompt….at least I think I did. I tried.

  2. julespaige

    11/11/2014 at 1:51 pm

    Just two views… I’ll have to look up that Rashomon thingy another time.
    But you’ve also got an Elfje. 🙂
    I had just a tad bit of free time as my son had off today…but I’ll be getting my charges this afternoon for a few hours….

    • margo roby

      11/11/2014 at 2:21 pm

      You can have as many views as your heart desires, Jules.

  3. Carol Carlisle

    11/11/2014 at 3:33 pm

    Margo I couldn’t wrap my head around Roshomon poem but Roshomon Photos
    on my photo only site
    Carol Carlisle

  4. Hannah Gosselin

    12/11/2014 at 9:10 pm

    I tried a dialogue poem, Margo…it was great fun…thank you!

  5. b_young

    13/11/2014 at 7:11 am

    I can’t get a handle. Every time I’ve tried “Ah, yes. I remember it well” starts up. Maurice and Hermione.

    • margo roby

      13/11/2014 at 7:43 am

      So tell that story but modern.

      • b_young

        13/11/2014 at 8:12 am

        I tried that. I just can’t get a good angle. Stale biscuits.
        Has winter made it to Atlanta yet? Too fast.

        • margo roby

          13/11/2014 at 8:33 am

          Ah well, shelve it.

          I’d say tonight, with the drop to 28, Atlanta will officially be in winter mode. You’re closer to the action, and may feel a bit more of what is supposed to be a brutal winter. Denver might as well give up now.


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