Jack Collom An Ecosystem of Writing Ideas
Collaboration is a huge area. You can collaborate on any poetic form or approach at alland add a few that a lone author could not manage. Collaboration by its essence (multiple causation) exemplifies the spirit behind ecology. It's also a lot of fun (will help escort a reluctant group into the joys of writing). If students are hesitant to transcend the realm of obvious black-and-white meaning, into freer associations, collaborating will tend to open them up quickly.
We've used the acrostic method to collaborate (line-by-line tradeoffs) on prefaces for class anthologies:
P rimarily, these writings
R eflect our thoughts on issues
E nvironmental; just in their
F antastic multiplicity, they may give
A glimpse of the last terra incognita, the
C reative landscape of the mind's
P inecone hides squirrel all but tail. P ost-
R ed berries hang on false tobacco. R eality
E arlier a shadow fall across that rock E nters stage left, bandfishing clock,
F ace, now the sun chases airy cloud, F aces figure of
A nd how you A rt. Darkness falls.
C hase beginnings but C onserve
E nd up leaving something behind. E nergy!rhythm of neon letters.
In the "real world" most poems depart further from any particular-assignment roots than many of our class-generated works do. Here are some nature pieces done for or in (or long before) class that transcend obvious labels:
is the color of
as Santa Fe
of the human
This frog is more gifted
than mere appearance would indicate.
Like a finely tuned bard, like the prince's courtesan,
your tongue is the right hand of desire.
And speaking of hands, they are all but useless.
Do not attempt to grasp what you cannot have.
Allow your powerful legs and batwing feet
to launch you across the dragging current.
And, for God's sake and your own, leap!
From dry land to outcropped boulder,
at spring torrent or seven-year drought,
the gift of air and motion can be yours.
From birth, you are one thing,
then you become yourself forever.
Fishtail recedes as backbone curves and ossifies.
Your hide turns green and stubborn.
Those bulbous eyes can split the water,
rake the shore, while you, the beast, remain
camouflaged in tall grass, baking off pond much,
blissed-out on a rock in the April sun.
Mud is second skin, water and earth your twin allies,
so when night carves its initials on the river's path,
still those leaping feet, that whipping tongue.
Lift up your gullet for passing low notes and wail.
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