Today we have a guest who has helped me with the prompt. Amy Jo Sprague who shares her writing form https://amyjosprague.wordpress.com, She has basically written this for me, but I have cleaned it up a bit. So maybe it’s a cocreation.
To inspire you with some free writing to create free verse let’s start from Jack Kerouac who shared his Belief and Techniques for Modern Prose as follows:
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
Maybe you can imagine how Allen Ginsberg used this to create (HOWL), which is crazy good free verse. Even a form-junkie like Björn cannot cease to enjoy listening to his reading.
Free verse which we aim for today is, as Robert Frost said, “like playing tennis without a net”. But there are a few ways to use these in a way to create a sense of structure, like repetition of certain phrases and punctuate use for rhythm and structure. I think free writing involves a VERY close, attentive ear for sound. It would be fun if you could share your very own reading of the poem you create.
Amy said to me:
“The moment I officially fell in love with writing was when I read and heard Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL in my sociology class in the liberal arts college I went to. I was HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE with this free writing, this outpouring of passion yet written with a sharp ear for that flowing conversation it must offer—the speed in which Ginsberg reads it-the speed with which you read it yourself, is breathtaking. If you are so inclined, it is on YouTube—his reading of it part 1 and 2 and you can also find online. What made my heart pound aside from the incredible language, assonance, repetition (as if it sprung a rhythm of its own in its telling) was the subject matter—the times he was living in. The times he and his fellow friends and mates and strangers—he spoke for everyone, “angel-headed hipsters” and the madman and angel bum, the business man, the veteran, the forgotten boys after the war. The displaced and misplaced, homosexuals who didn’t have the freedom to express without society’s rejection and judgment.
My favorite parts from HOWL:”
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across
the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the E1 and saw Mohammedan angels
staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas
and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war…
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations
which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish…
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and
trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental
verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping with sensation
of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus
to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless
and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to
conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head,
the madman and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might
be left to say in time come after death…
I remember when I listened to HOWL during an intercontinental flight and then wrote a poem in that strange state of being inside an aluminum capsule between one time and another. I found the passages about Moloch starting like this especially inspiring:
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
If you really want to get into the mood, try listening to Allen Ginsburg’s reading on Youtube.
Now for the prompt we’re going to break this idea down and write about the times we have lived in—describing/living the life of the decades you have gone through. You can be as specific as a dusty dodge Monaco your father drove in his plaid shirt and bell-bottoms, your mother’s perm or yours, how it felt when a certain movie came out and shaped you, or you can shoot for a bigger picture—politics, war, technology, literature, and/or what is happening to the common person in our country right now — on and on the sky is the limit. But remember to pour your own emotion(s) into it.
- Write down key words you want to use for the theme.
- Now set your timer for nine minutes. Free-write whatever comes to mind–pen to paper, do not stop do not edit. Let yourself get lost in memory or history or today—what it’s like (or was like in the past) for you, YOU, living in this world.
- Then, when your time is up, write that free verse poem.
When you do your free-write it can be helpful to work backwards and create the lines of your poems around those key words to flesh it out.
If you feel like you want to clean it up, maybe adding some creative enjambment or punctuations. Maybe you find an internal rhyme you want to emphasize or maybe you feel you need to cut it down like you do black-out poetry. Maybe a list-poem works for you. But try not to destroy that raw feeling from your initial free-write. (Björn, this is not the right time to write a sonnet.)
It would be great fun if you could share a photo of your first scribbled notes as well, and tell us a little bit of your thoughts about how you thought when creating your poem. And when you are done, this is how you do it:
- Leave a small comment below, and participate in our discussion.
- Enter a link directly to your poem and your name by clicking Mr Linky below
- There you will find links to other poets, and more will join during the next 48 hours
- Read and comment on other poet’s work, we all go here to have our poems read
- Promote your site and poetry you like on social media of your choice
- Please link back to dVerse
- Have fun