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an assignment

to my students for the weekend.....go ahead, try it

To use a baseball metaphor, each time you think you've got the bases covered with the English language, it steals home. Such is the case with the glorious array of collective animal nouns herein presented, which are perfect springing points for any type of poem--not just about an animal.

Choose one of these ten phrases, all of which are certifiably tested and true to connotate pluralities of animals:

A shrewdness of apes
A string of ponies
A mustering of storks
A parliament of owls
A knot of toads
A descent of woodpeckers
A crash of rhinos
A murmuration of starlings
A hover of trout
An ostentation of peacocks

Write this down at the top of the page. This is the title of your poem. Think of the weird metaphoric angles you can use in this poem, using this as your central imagistic conceit. (Hint: think not only of the animal, but the word used to describe the animal grouping; think of a knot and what it means to be knotty).
Write a poem that doesn't directly have to do with this specific animal; in other words, don't write a poem beginning: "I saw a parliament of owls last night!" This isn't transforming the image; it's only literalizing and flatlining it. Take a unique vantage point; twist the language to allow the descent and the woodpecker (as an example) co-inhabit.
Make the poem no longer than a page.
Include three of the following five items: a household appliance, a food, the name of a country not in North America or Europe, a psychological disorder, a piece of dialogue, two endstopped lines in a row.
Include at the very least 2 similes and 2 metaphors and 1 alliteration.

and mine (for the kids...give me a break, i had about 5 minutes):

morning at the center of learning
a crash of rhinos are returning
kids like atoms gone psychotic
colliding and crashing, so chaotic

"can we pleeeze turn on the computer?"
"no, no, not yet, where is your tutor?"
these are the bright stars in my sky
the a la mode on my sweet apple pie

the little man whose mommy is in iraq
his sister, whose head is hard as a rock
little buzzing bees around the room
are little flowers soon to bloom.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2003 04:32 pm (UTC)
Excecellant entry Maia! Ya know I almost bought a book a couple of days ago, it was a book of creative writing excercises that one can use to improve one's writing skills. If the excercise you listed here didn't require that a poem be written I think I would try it myself. I know that I can't write poetry, I've tired and it's always been a dissaster. I like to read poetry, I love the way that poets put images together, but actually writing it is way beyond me.

I like the poem that you came up with, I like the way you write.
Aug. 2nd, 2003 08:37 am (UTC)
don't think of it as a poem and it doesn't have to have any kind of meter. it is designed to give you a little forced freeflow ;)
thank you for liking my attempt ;)
hope you have a great weekend!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


don't fear death
melissa muses (or maia, you choose)


wandering does not make you a "gypsy."
why would you call yourself
after those who have no home?
long skirts and hoop earrings
do not make you a "gypsy."
why do you call yourself after
those who have no clothes?

"gypsy" is pejorative. please don't perpetuate the stereotype. educate yourself on what it really means to be a "gypsy" in this world.

Who are the Roma?

Decade of Roma Inclusion

Dženo Association

European Roma Rights Centre

Roma Balkans

Roma National Congress

Romani World



Rroma Media Network

Soros Roma Initiatives

Studii Romani

The European Union and Roma

The Patrin Webjournal: Romani Culture and History

Voice of Roma
World Bank Roma Initiatives

Have a Happy Day! :)

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