Writer Wednesday Writing Exercise at GonzoInk #poetry

Once upon a time, I took a workshop from Harry Thurston who is described as Canada’s naturalist poet. He was impressive. I’m terrible at poetry; just ask any of my writer friends who  write it. I think I may have written half dozen of them in my time and all very badly.

The workshop was at White Point Beach Resort: a beautiful spot on the South Shore of NS with gorgeous sands and bunnies all around the property. Harry asked us to walk the beach for about ½ an hour and pick up something that ‘spoke’ to us. Then come back with the object, grab a coffee, and wait. That alone, was wonderful. We reassembled with coffees and artifact in hand to our tables and the writing magic began.

He told us that we could use a formula if we liked to help egg on the poet muse. I’m going to share with you what I remember of the formula as it’s pretty cool. Mind you, a stale formula on a writer’s blog page cannot recreate the magic of that workshop in any way, shape, or form. I encourage you to attend any of his workshops if you are able.

  •  First: Describe the object physically. Use as many senses as you like
  • Second: Imagine its history
  • Third: Imagine how it got to the place where you picked it up
  • Fourth: Imagine it’s future.

Poets will be very creative with this formula. As a fiction writer, I was pleased I was able to have a guideline. The results—which we read out loud—were astounding.

Try it out, and feel free to share here or at the very least, tell us what object you picked.

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Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction.

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