Modernist Poetry:  Writing Exercises



Imagism: (Haiku)


Walk outside and look at the world until you observe something—an insect, a leaf, a bird, children playing on a swing-set… preferably something in action.  Write a short haiku-like passage that tries to capture that scene at that moment: the natural world intersecting with your perception.  If it helps, try to shape this into a traditional Japanese haiku (three lines, with a 5 syllable, 7 syllable, 5 syllable format).


Examples of Haiku (from Basho):

Orchid breathing

  incense into
butterfly wings.


Spring - through

  morning mist
        what mountains there?





Using Stein's "If I Told Him" as a reference, write a fragmented poem that relies on the repetitions of words and phrases.  Don't worry about making sense… In fact, it might be easier if you try not to make sense and let the repetitions "take over."  Stein started man poems by employing the method of "automatic" or "free" writing.