A Poetry Workshop MOOC – Week 2

There I was, thinking that writing prose in another language was difficult. Hah, little did I know. In this loveley course I’m taking to learn more about poetry (see previous post on the topic) I’ve now tried my hand at actually, deliberately writing a poem. This. Is. So. Difficult.

And I’m still having fun with it. For those of you who write poetry regularly and know your way around things like imagery and abstractions, it may be old news, but for me this is a great challenge.

This weeks theme was the exploration of abstractions and images.

Abstractions and images may fill our poems, but how can you tell what’s what, and how can you leverage them to compelling ends?

Douglas Kearney, California Institute of Arts,

While abstraction is something I think I understood through my love of art, the concept of imagery in poems seemed intellectually simple, but to internalize it and use it more meaningful than writing ‘Love is a heart, freedom is a bird,” all of a sudden seemed very difficult and un-doable to me. So I went and read poems of imagists. And just when I thought I understood it and wrote something for the prompt (and even wanted to post it, eeee…) I realized that I didn’t do it right. I should have written about an object. Instead I wrote about… a situation? Here it is.

This Quiet Night

How to capture
Images like the dusty green of barley fields in misty twilight,
Sensations like the breeze caressing my skin like smooth silk,
Fleeting sounds like birdsong,
Tweet, tweet, tweet, cluck, cluck, cluck,
Riii-chrp, rii-chrp,
Tuui, tuui, tit,tit,tit,
Of this quiet night?
Tweet, tweet, tweet, cluck, cluck, cluck is a sequence of the nightingale’s beautiful song.
(Image fom Peter van Kasteren on Pixabay)

Is a quiet night an object? I don’t think so… sigh. I’ll have to work on it some more.

The second prompt was to “Think up a poem title structured as such: The [Concrete Noun] of [Abstract Noun].” Here we go again:

The Water of Regret

Regret Is like water:

Endless in its perseverance, 
Reflecting mirror images of my failures,
Grinding mountains into sand,
Destroying my resistance with its softness.

And in the end
It buries me
In the grit of insignificance.
Image by Hans Braxmeier on Pixabay

At least this gives me a chance to try out the verse block in the block editor. And I’m reading poems. And thinking about poems. I think that alone is worth the effort.

Stay tuned, I shall contiune torturing you with poems in the next few weeks.

6 thoughts on “A Poetry Workshop MOOC – Week 2

  1. I wrote a bit of a silly poem called The Compost Bin of Despair for the Concrete of Abstract prompt. I haven’t dared post anything yet but I also have a poem from week 3, on the One of us! prompt I might share in the workshop – after all it isn’t supposed to be finished yet but in need of improvement. I do like your Water of Regret poem.
    Here is my week 3 prompt poem, all on bird imagery.

    Nature or Nurture

    If my father was a night owl, then my mother was a lark,
    And whilst my mother chivied her chicks with many a cluck and chuck of chin,
    My father perched alone, lugubrious and stern behind night-seeing eyes.

    But since I’ve taken fledgling flight I have considered that,
    Whilst my mother’s nature was my nurturing,
    I prefer to hunt alone at night and reject the downy safety of the flock.

    I am really enjoying the course and trying not to worry about it – I tend to take too long on things – but just press on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that I’ve gone through the theoretical part of week 3, I know what it’s about. Your poem for one of us is great and I think you should post it. I’m having trouble with the prompts, no idea if I can manage to write something. Maybe I have something for the conceit, not sure…


  2. Thank you! What, not the cluck, cluck, cluck? 😀

    Anyway, I love your poem. I haven’t looked into week 3 yet, so don’t know exactly what the prompt is about but the alliterations are great. “chivied her chicks with many a cluck and chuck of chin” – wonderful.
    I haven’t seen any critique advice yet either, so I just throw it out as I see it. I find it logical, fun and serious, and meaningful. Can’t tell yet if it’s good for the prompt, that comes later. I need to think about the imagery of week 2 some more… can’t decide on an object, they’re all so boring.


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