Sunday, 29 March 2015

Recipe for a poem

The work of Michael Cardew is central to the HotPots project.

Taking part in the HotPot writing project at the Ceramics Gallery in Aberystwyth University with tutor Katherine Stansfield is proving to be a very productive experience.

We are writing about pots on show, and about food and cooking and about anything really, wherever the pots lead us. One prompt we have been given is to write in the form of a recipe - for anything at all.

Here's one of mine (a little tongue in cheek!) 

Recipe for a poem

a varied selection of words
a little rhythm
some rhymes (optional)
a caesura or two
add an enjambement
metaphor and simile
some punctuation (optional)

First, discover the emotion you want to write about. Think about where it comes from and how it feels. What does this feeling remind you of? Do you associate it with a place, a building, a person, a sound, a painting or a piece of pottery? For example, could a pot be a metaphor for your feeling? Would that help you say what you want to say – its shape, colour, the sound it makes, how it feels,  what it is used for? Think about the characteristics of the place, person or pot, will these characteristics help you?
Make some notes. Think about the words you put in, are there better ones? Can you think of synonyms?
Rough out your idea. Look for things you can cut – definite articles for example. Are there any words that aren’t working for you?
Now you need a pinch of magic. Stir well, but not too well. Mix lightly is a better term.
Type it up. Edit it a bit, move things around until you are happy with the sound and look of your poem. Save it. Put it in a dark drawer for a day or two and leave it alone. Then have another look and fiddle about with it again.
Save it. And back up your file. You can print it at this stage, but you may want to let it rest again and come back and do some more work on it first. Now you can take it to a spoken word event with an open mic session  and read it to others. Or take it to a workshop to let other writers fiddle about with it.

There are many possibilities,
but try starting the poem at Stanza2.
You could cut the last two lines.

More info on the HotPot project here: