A while back for Meeting the Bar, Gay Cannon challenged us to create a new poetry form. The submissions we received were inspired, rich in opportunity. From among the creative forms offered in response to Gay’s challenge, I’m choosing to revisit that of Brian Miller—the tenWord.
Here’s what Brian had to say about it along with a few of his own examples:
“I call this one on tenWord, because after ten words no one is listening anyway, or already formulating their response…and what can you say in ten words…”
we play Scrabble
we don’t need
the Spring in my step
is my Fall
at night, under harsh streetlights
our shadows gather
Poetry that limits the number of words or syllables almost forces us to pay closer attention to the essence of a thing, to the most minute detail. A Zen-like experience, it develops our ability of self-expression and helps us to avoid the sin of “purple prose,” writing that overpowers us with an infusion of adjectives and adverbs.
Here’s a few ideas (optional) to help you jump-start a tenWord in response to this prompt:
• Select one of your poems that you’ve filled in your “Never Show This to Anyone” file and cull ten words from it. You may discover more than one poem hidden within.
• Refer to last week’s prompt and choose some prose, blacking out extraneous words to come up with your own tenWord.
• Take a walk or look around your room, listen in on someone else’s conversation and come up with a subject.
• Look into the past, recall a vivid experience or a person for the source of your inspiration.
• Just have at it, and have fun.
Of course, you’re not limited to these…these are just ideas!
Here’s how to play:
• Write your poem(s) and post it to your blog or website.
• Copy the direct URL of the poem and paste it, along with your name, into Mr. Linky. He’s waiting at the bottom of this post.
• Visit and read other poets who have linked, commenting on their work.
• Let the world know about dVerse, invite fellow poets and would-be poets to join us, using the wonders of Social Networking.
• Keep this simple prompt in your mind, paying attention to everything you encounter. Who knows what amazing poetry may emerge from it?!
• Enjoy yourself.