The weys we celebrate micht luik a wee bittie different the noo, but there are aye weys we can still share in celebratin. Life has been that unco ower this past year and nane o us hae kent whit’s gonnae happen next, sae mony o us hae been concentratin jist on gettin through things in the short-term. We’ve anely been takkin tent o the pavement richt in front o oor feet, raither than liftin oor heids tae luik tae the horizon.
For this scrievin prompt we want ye tae think aboot whit ye’re maist luikin forrit tae, whit are the milestanes aheid that ye’ll want tae celebrate, whit things that ye’re no able tae dae the noo are gonnae hae ye singin and dancin wi joy?
We hae three forms o poetry ye’d mebbe like tae turn yer haund tae:
- List poems
- Acrostic poems
- Concrete poems
Wairm up: Whit are ye wishing for?
Whit are the things that hiv kept ye gawin through this past year? Mebbe it’s a place ye want tae visit, a person ye’re howpin tae see, an event ye’d like to gang tae, or it could jist be as simple a thing as sowt ye used tae dae every day – gawin tae the library, bletherin wi a body in the bus queue, drinkin tea at a luved yin’s table, giein a bosie tae a pal.
- First, mak a list o the things ye’re luikin forrit tae.
- Next, pick yin thing aff thon list and think about it a wee bit mair. Whit daes it luik like in yer heid? Whaur are ye? Wha’s there wi ye? How daes thinkin aboot it mak ye feel?
- Finally, aince ye’ve a specific thing ye’re luikin forrit tae in mind, use it tae dae each yin o the wee tasks in the brainstorm.
In an acrostic poem, the first, last or middle letter o ilka line can be read tap tae bottom tae mak a wird or phrase that the poem is aboot.
Mak a list o single wirds or wee phrases that sum up the thing ye’re wishin for. This could be:
- Aboot how ye’re feelin deep doon – wirds like impatient, howpful, blythesome, scunnered
- Things ye want tae dae – bosie yer maw, shake hauns wi fowk, hae denner pairties, gang swimmin, tak a holiday
- Places ye want tae gang – the café, the howff, the museum, the theatre, the pictures
List poems pit ower an image or idea by makkin a list o aw the things aboot it that the poet wants tae tak tent o. They can be funny, or chairmin, or really pack an emotional punch, dependin on whit the list is focused on and how it’s developed through the poem.
Mak a list o aw the different things aboot yer wish that ye’re luikin forrit tae – this could include the likes o
- Whit ye’ll see – whit will be the sichts and the kenmairks, whit colours there’ll be, how will the licht luik
- Yer ither senses – whit ye’ll hear, taste, smell and touch
- The fowk
- The claes ye’ll be weirin, whit ye’ll tak wi ye
- Yer feelins
Concrete poems cairry their meanin in the wey they’re set oot – the wirds are scrieved on the page tae shape a picture. This can awfie simple – like a triangle, circle or square – or a bittie mair complicatit, like a hoose, a tree, or an animal.
Think about the basic shapes or pictures that ye associate wi the thing ye’re wishin for. Scrieve doon a few that ye dout wiad mak a guid shape for a poem. These could be somethin like:
- A coffee cup for the coffee ye’ll sit and drink in yer favourite café
- The bike, train, bus or car ye’ll tak tae gang see yer freends and faimily
- A cake or giftie ye’ll bring wi ye tae celebrate
- A haun or a smile
- The penguins ye’ll gang tae see at the zoo
Tak a deek at aw the notes ye’ve makkit durin the wairm-up and brainstorm exercises and pick the form ye’re maist excitit tae scrieve yer poem in. Ablo is a list o things tae think aboot and some poems tae gie ye inspiration.
This format lets ye be mair abstract in yer scrievin – aince ye’ve the letters tae stairt and feenish yer lines, how ye get atween them is up tae yersel. An acrostic poem lets ye add layers tae the meanin o yer poem; ye dinnae hiv tae say exactly whit the subject o yer poem is, and that lets ye hae a wee play aroond wi yer descriptions and images.
Pick the wird or phrase ye want tae build yer poem around, and then luik at some o the ither things ye pit doon in yer brainstorm and see if ye can find weys tae fit them intae yer poem, forby.
Acrostics can be used in aw kinds o scrievin – to pit ower an extra message. Tak a luik at the letter o resignation, scrieved richt efter Charlottesville, frae The President’s Committee o Airts and the Humanities(this will open in a new window) – whaur the first letter o ilka paragraph spells out “RESIST”.
Or this poem frae John Cage, Overpopulation and Art(this will open in a new window).
List poems are jist that – a list o things, observations, thochts. They micht luik easy enough tae scrieve, but the real trick tae them is in whit wey ye order and jyne up the things that are on yer list.
- Ye micht want tae stairt aw yer lines wi the same wird, which will add emphasis and virr tae thon wird choice – or ye micht want tae stairt maist o the lines wi the same wird, in which case ye’ll shift the focus tae and mebbe pirl the meanin o yer poem aroond the lines that stairt differently.
- Think aboot how lang yer lines will be – are ye wantin them tae be mair or less the same aw the wey through, or will ye want them tae chynge – and whit dae thae different choices dae tae how the poem soonds and feels?
- Ye could stairt yer list wi wee, personal things and move oot tae list muckler, shared public things. Likesay – if ye were scrievin aboot gangin tae see yer favourite tree, ye micht stairt wi how its bark feels, how muckle it is next tae yersel, how faur ye can reach aroond its trunk, then mebbe move ontae whit ye can see if ye sit leanin against it and whauraboots it is in the landscape.
A Procrastinator’s To Do List by Brian Bilston(this will open in a new window) This funny and gey relatable poem by Brian Bilston shows the pouer o addin a rhyme scheme tae yer list poem, and o repeatin key wirds and phrases.
How to be Hunted as a Witch; part 1 by Catherine Simpson(this will open in a new window)
How to be Hunted as a Witch; part 2 (2017) by Catherine Simpson(this will open in a new window)
These twa poems show how pouerful list poems can be.
Concrete poems can be richt fantoosh, drawin lines o a picture wi the wirds o a poem, or the shape can be somethin gey simple, set oot jist by usin the space bar. Luik at the yer list o images and think aboot how ye could mak thae shapes usin wirds. Ye could :
- Mak a simple line drawin and scrieve alang it
- Ye could type a daud o text tae mak a solid shape,
- Or ye could mak a picture oot o the hole in the middle o a bit o text
Fox by Julia Gomez(this will open in a new window)
The Mouse’s Tail by Lewis Carroll(this will open in a new window)
40 Love by Roger McGough(this will open in a new window)