Musical Echoes (#1)

mathis

This is the first in a set of prompt/formal ideas for starting poems or other writings.

Make a list of song titles from an album. You could select the collection at random, perhaps one you have on hand, or alternatively you could select a collection that has specific meaning for you, already.

For example, here are the titles from “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” (Johnny Mathis, Columbia).

Chances are
All the time
The twelfth of never
When sunny gets blue
When I am with you
Wonderful! Wonderful!
It’s not for me to say
Come to me
Wild is the wind
Warm and tender
No love
I look at you

Use the titles as the spine or structure for a writing. I love vinyl and tried it with quite a few collections. I was doubtless influenced by the object itself, the photographs, memories associated with the music or the physical object, etc. As the goal for the first draft, at least, I made a few rules. I used all of the titles. I kept them in the same order. I made only slight changes (like a pronoun or verb form). My strategy was more to expand on the word or phrase. Usually I’m ending up with poems that are (at least in early form) 14-16 lines.

I tried to allow myself to use the words/ideas suggested by the titles. A phrase like “warm and tender” is familiar, almost too familiar–next door to cliche, really. So using those words is a good challenge. Isn’t defamiliarizing language a big part of writing, after all?  I’m cautiously optimistic, having written numerous poems–at least some have potential to be finished.

Recently my parents gave me a bunch of their old records. I’m finding it most appealing to use albums for this writing with which I’m not familiar. Before editing, I might listen to the songs a time or two. Even if you usually don’t need a “prompt” for your writing, this writing could still work as warm-up, or as a section or chapter in an ongoing project you have, even relating to a theme or character you are developing.

*

“When There’s Lightning” by Sara Aykit


When There’s Lightning

Read the skies for storms
Thunder rolling in
Close the doors
Close your eyes
Hold fast to your breaking heart, darling
The sky is a velvet black,
stallion stampeding stopping for no one.
Thunder treading ground
There’s a tornado surely coming
Clouds are crying
Tossing thunder like children throw tantrums
Whipping winds howling
For you.

Peek from your covers
Peek out the windows
blue skies
Singing birds and sunshine
But you know
there’s thunder coming for you
It’s all in your head
But there’s thunder rolling in

–Sara Aykit

“Barrier, Poetic Door” (a paraclausithyron) by David Sizer

Barrier, Poetic Door
(by David Sizer)

Why is this door locked?
I can’t understand.
I’ve shown nothing
but love.
Your anger came,
like it always does,
from nowhere at all.

What void is there inside you?
That you feel you must so desperately fill?
Manipulation,
intense love,
senseless hate.

Ok, fine, maybe I wasn’t
always so nice to you.
Can you blame me though?
It’s hard to show my affection
when you keep locking yourself
behind a door.

 

 

Aug 28th–14th Annual Philly Zine Fest

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This Sunday, 12 noon to 7, the Philly Zine Fest will happen in West Philly.

WHEN: Sunday, August 28
Noon to 7 p.m.
WHERE The Rotunda
4014 Walnut St.

Hours and general information: http://www.phillyvoice.com/phillys-zine-scene-will-gather-together-university-city-festival/

Shameless promotion for Writers Room at Drexel:
Later this fall, on Oct. , Mary Tasillo of Soapbox will conduct a zine-making workshop for part of our NEA Big Read festival. We are reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
For  more on that, visit: http://www.neabigread.org/communities/?community_id=2250

(image from ZF Facebook page)