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Twenty Little Poetry Projects

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  • Panz

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 11:32 PM Edited by Panz, 07 January 2014 - 11:32 PM.

Forgive me if this exists already, but this is something that my fellow poetry writers might take an interest in.  It's basically a poem with twenty different rules that you have to follow. They don't necessarily need to be in the particular order given, but I found that I preferred the challenge of writing mine that way.  What's great about them is that they really don't need to make any sense. They can, but it's not necessary. They're just a bunch of fun.


I wrote mine for a Creative Writing course a few months ago and tried to make some sense out of mine, so hopefully you guys will find some sort of theme in it. 


Here are the directions:



Directions: Open the poem with the first project and close it with the last. Otherwise use the projects in whatever order you like, giving each project at least one line. Try to use all twenty projects. Feel free to repeat those you like. Fool around. Enjoy. 


  1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous. 
  3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem. 
  7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem. 
  9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic
  10. Use a piece of “talk” you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
  11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: ‘The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun)…”
  12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities. 
  13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he/she could not do in “real life.”
  14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective 
  17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense. 
  18. Use a phrase from a language other than English. 
  19. Make a nonhuman object say or do something human (personification).
  20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem. 


Here is an example poem, written by Jim Simmerman:



Moon Go Away I Don’t Love You No More


  1. Morning comes on like a wink in the dark.
  2. It’s me it’s winking at.
  3. Mock light lolls in the boughs of the pines.   Dead air numbs my hands. A bluejay jabbers like nobody’s business. Woodsmoke comes spelunking my nostrils. and tastes like burned toast where it rests on my tongue. 
  4. Morning tastes the way a rock felt kissing me one the eye:
  5. a kiss thrown by Randy Shellhourse on the Jacksonville, Arkansas, Little  League field because we were that bored in 1965.
  6. We weren’t that bored in 1965
  7. Dogs ran amuck in the years of the poor, and music spilled out of every window though none of us could dance.
  8. None of us could do the Frug, the Dirty Dog 
  9. because we were small and wore small hats. 
  10. Moon go away, I don’t love you no more was the only song we knew by heart.
  11. The dull crayons of sex and meanness scribbled all over our thoughts.
  12. We were about as happy as headstones.
  13. We fell through the sidewalk and changed color at night.
  14. Little Darry was there to scuff through it all, 
  15. so that today, tomorrow, the day after that he will walk backward among the orphaned trees
  16. and toy rocks that lead him nowhere I  could ever track, till he’s so far away, so lost
  17. I’ll have to forget him to know where he’s gone.
  18. La grave poullet du soir est toujours avec moi-
  19. even as the sky opens for business; even as shadows kick off their shoes; 
  20. even as this torrent of clean morning light comes flooding down and over it all.


And here's the poem I wrote (I just inserted the numbers now so that you could see where worked with each rule):



Little Me 


1. The sand is a furnace.

2. It’s so hot it’s cold, and I feel nothing.

With one slam a tower rises, 

and little me smiles. 


3. Waves rap against the compacted shore.

Briny air takes refuge behind my tongue.

The static of the breeze hums in my ears

and cools the dew upon my neck.

Sea salt and sunscreen, such a pungent smell. 


The tower crumbles.

4. My pail and shovel scream how the gull above flies,

scolding me, for my disaster castle reeks of blobs.

5. Mommy says I’ll be an architect one day,

castle-builder extraordinaire.

She says I’ll design the best Cape May has ever seen,

and so I rebuild the fallen tower.


6.  . . . but I’ll never be an architect.


7. The water’s edge creeps up

like a clumsy monster, ‘Boo!’ 

yet the moat does not fret.

Mommy reads Comus and flips the page.


8. “My bad.” A big-footed boy knocks down the South wall

9. because big feet make for clumsy boys.

I cringe, ready to wail, but Mommy’s words stop me,

10. “Every cloud has a silver lining.”


11. The piercing sword of frustration slides  

from my chest, and I reconstruct the fallen wall. 


12. I spot a shell, colorful like snow,

and fasten it to the castle’s front face.

13. Like a fairy I fly, a twirling ribbon in the wind.

Hiccups and giggles escape me,

14. the ones for which Squeaks was named,

15. but I know they will only last so long.


16. A prickly wave fills the moat

and quickly retreats in shame.  

Alas, it returns with newfound confidence

and mars the front towers.


17. All is over before it began.


Mommy slips her sunglasses down her nose

and raises her eyebrows at me.

18. Numquam cede.


19. My defeated castle points to a patch of dry sand

and bids me farewell.


20. I picture a new disaster castle adorned with ramparts and spires. . .

                                                                   . . .and little me smiles. 


If any of you are interested in commenting on my poem or want to post your own, I'd love to read them! They're a good way to pass some time. :)

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Mokrie Dela
  • Mokrie Dela


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Posted 08 January 2014 - 10:38 AM Edited by Mokrie Dela, 08 January 2014 - 11:32 AM.

This could be a neat little mini-game, like One Shots or The Bar. I quite like the idea, and I think I'll give it a shot sometime... watch this space

This is complete nonsense...


His eyes are light in the dark,
This man, he is a dog
His voice that of a bark,
His words taste hot.

A Child of Japan, Aiko knows he is a cat.
Essentially, there is nothing.
The foolish call him "Bakayaro The Rat"
Because of their insults, he smells homes smoking.

"Do not insult the alligator until you have crossed the river."
He says, like the burning eyes of the devil,
His firey words cools their tempers, and the old man shivers,
He waits for a thousend years, for a retort to his heckle.

They call him Deadly,
For he will tear down cities.
His temper steady,
His boring fury.

There is nothing that exists in the universe,
Other than this. He insists this is true.
When asked if the cup is half full, or half empty,
He simply replies: "Mu."

The trees sing ancient rhymes,
And the very earth dances.
The man is unpunished for his crimes,
He is never given any chances.

When asked why he waits throughout the years,
And if his words are simply him bluffing
The old man wipes away the people's tears,
And simply says "There is nothing."

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  • Panz

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:23 PM

That was awesome. I love how you added some rhyming sequences in there. Subtle, but really smooth and nice to read. :^:

Mokrie Dela
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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:43 PM

It was a fun little exercise. My poem isn't anything great. Some reason I wanted to write about Buddhist Zens, but it was an interesting thing to do. I hope others see this and join in. People like Coat who enjoy poems...

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