Experiments and Journal Ideas
by the Bernadette Mayer Feminist Reading Club of The Poetry Project at St Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, circa the terrible fall of 2017
Make a List of Some of This Decades Things.
Make a list of Ten Things Never To Do in the Present.
Write an “Incidents Report Sonnet.”
Write a 14 Questions Sonnet.
Construct a poem that brings a domestic task into the realm of nature and play.
Adhere a group of opposing words to a baseball bat. Swing the bat to see which words fall off and which remain.
Create a poem from a pre-existing list. Shape the list into a narrative of some sort.
Transform your body into a “cheap machine” for different tasks (become a computer, a sensor, an elevator, etc. to the best of your ability). Create a poem from your experience.
Ask someone on the train if they would consider helping you to write a poem. See what happens and no matter what happens make a poem.
Ask someone under 8 years old “What do you care about?” Make a short poem.
Write a poem called Original Fake News.
Be silent for 24 hours and do not write. Try to interact with others as much as possible. After the 24 hours write notes or letters to some of the people/animals/objects you interacted with.
Describe in great detail a scene from a movie that disturbed you as a child. Write from memory.
Write while watching Winona Ryder films.
Write a poem while playing basketball. Write a line for every point you make.
Write a poem with emojis.
Etymology chimera: Write an Oulipian “chimera” poem by starting with a source text and swapping out all the nouns, verbs, and adjectives for comparable words appearing in three discrete other texts, in order; but make it more complicated by only swapping in words of particular etymological characteristics — i.e. Only words of Latinate origin, loan-words from other languages, words of pre-Columbian American origin, etc.
Remove 14 items of clothing from your closet / wardrobe to discard. Write 1 memory for each article .
Add line breaks to the automated transcriptions of your voice mails. Change whatever you want.
Ask a group of people to describe a poem to you that you have never read. Write the poem you think they are describing.
Write while you are being paid to do something else.
Use Paul Thek’s Teaching Notes as writing prompts.
Keep a journal of sounds.
Every time you hear construction workers working, write a poem.
Translate an Olde English text into the English of today.
Write as though you are stumbling into a context of your choice.
Make a sonnet sandwich.
Write your “private sandwich.”
Take the first, the last lines of 14 pages in your journal/notebook and compose a sonnet with them.
Spend time playing with children 3-years-old and younger. Write from their point of view.