Thursday, April 21, 2011


As part of an ongoing poetry project with Laura Purdie Salas, Susan Taylor Brown posted this about line breaks in poetry, including some exercises playing with line breaks. Since I've played with poetry and toyed with the idea of verse novels (my next book actually started its life as an attempt at a verse novel, although it turned into standard prose), I found this play with line breaks fascinating.

While taking a break from my current manuscript, I was also sneaking a look at some poetry files in which I wrote a few pantoums. A pantoum is a form of poetry in which certain lines are repeated, but the order of those lines changes. This challenge, of repeating lines while changing the order and having the whole poem make some sort of sense, excites me. I've written a few pantoums, as I said, but they all suck. Which is okay, because I did not write them in the hopes that they would earn me the Nobel Prize for Literature. I was challenging myself and having fun.

More projects that excite me (not all of which I do myself, but I like to read about others doing them): Quilting. Collage. Pinhole cameras. Sugar eggs (Pat Esden posted about sugar eggs this week, and my first question was: Where have they been all my life?)

The common theme here is excitement. It's about the joy of creating something, the challenge of learning new things, the fun of play. Whatever else writing is, it is a creative endeavor, and I think it's good not to let one's process get too repetitive or formulaic. It's good to play, to try some new form or even a different art/craft, to be a beginner again. To keep that excitement alive, the excitement of saying, "That sounds like fun! I wonder if I can do it? I'm going to try!"


  1. Yes, Play! That's got to be in our writing, or we've lost our passion and the fun!

  2. Absolutely, Carol! In fact, I spent the day writing some new flash fiction. :-)