I've been reading The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within by Stephen Fry. I find it in turns both hilarious and instructive. It is also very well written. In the Foreword he writes:
I cannot teach you how to be a great poet or even a good one. Dammit, I can't teach myself that. But I can show you how to have fun with the modes and forms of poetry as they have developed over the years.
I find writing in rhyme particularly difficult and so have been working my way through the samples and exercises on rhyme. Here's the one I want to try this week.
Take your notebook and wander about the house and garden, if you have one. If you are not reading this at home, then wander around your office, hospital ward, factory floor or prison cell. If you are outside or on a train, plane or bus, in a café, brothel or hotel lobby you can still do this. Simply note down as many things as you can see, hear or smell. They need not be nouns, you can jot down processes, actions, deeds. So, if you are in a café, you might write down: smoking, steam, raincoat, lover's tiff, cappuccino machine, sipping, flapjacks, cinnamon, jazz music, spilt tea, and so on -- whatever strikes the eye, ear or nose. Write a list of at least twenty words. When you've done that, settle down and one more see how many rhymes you can come up with for each word. You may find that this simple exercise gets your poetic saliva glands so juiced up that the temptation to turn words into poetry becomes irresistible. Yield to it. A random, accidental and arbitrary consonance of word sounds can bring inspiration where no amount of pacing, pencil chewing and looking out of the window can help.So there's your challenge for the work. Come up with a series of rhyming words inspired by your surroundings and turn them into a poem. Leave me a comment about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.