Starting your poem
Task (20 minutes)
- Look out of the nearest window.
- What can you see? It might be trees, pylons, fields, office blocks, buses, street lamps, cats, birds or anything that catches your eye. What can you hear? Listen carefully – closing your eyes if necessary. How about smell? Are the sounds and smells coming from outside, or are they connected to the place you’re looking from?
- Now think of an abstract noun. It might be a feeling like fear, hope, comfort or loss. It might be a quality like strangeness or kindness. It might be something that can be experienced, like racism, empowerment or the future. Try to make it something that feels important in your life, right now. What does that noun mean to you? Where do you experience or feel it?
- As you’re looking at the scene outside your window, hold the abstract noun in your mind. For instance, you might be looking at a busy street and thinking about worry, or you might be looking at a tree and thinking about wonder, or at a wall and thinking about childhood. The concrete world and the abstract thought don’t have to have any obvious connection to one another. Just hold the two things – the world you’re looking at, and the abstract noun you’re thinking about – in your mind at the same time.
- Write down your observations about the concrete world. Make a note of three or four things that strike you about what you can see, hear or smell.
- Write down your ideas about the abstract noun you’ve been thinking of. You can give it a definition if you want to, or you can just write down what it means to you. Note down three or four observations about this noun.
- Your notes don’t have to be arranged in lines of poetry – just plain sentences are fine at this point. They don’t have to be long or fancy. Just use language that feels comfortable to you.
- Take a look at what you’ve written. From the notes that you’ve made, choose four or five that you like best. You don’t have to know why you like them – just trust your instincts.
A-level Study Boost: Unseen Poetry and the Creative Process
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