On Poems, Paper Planes and Playfulness


The other evening, at the regular 451 poetry event run by Apples and Snakes, I re-enforced what I always say about creativity and play.

They ran a little competition to write a poem in the break. It’s a new form of poetry invented by Mr Compere, Rob Casey (see his blog about it here). The rule is, write a poem where each word starts with the letter at the end of the previous word. This kind of ‘restricted’ creation is a powerful tool to push your creative process out of your usual patterns and I’ve used it a lot – from dancing with one foot ‘rooted’ to the ground, to painting with just one colour.
Anyhoo, there I was, the pressure was on (OK not really!) to write a poem in 20 minutes after a rather large glass of wine. I sweated (OK not really!) and eventually crumpled up my paper in disgust, announcing that chain poetry would never catch on.
Picking up another piece of paper, I made a paper aeroplane. As soon as the brain had disengaged from trying to force a poem, VOILA! A poem just popped on out. I wrote one word on each side of the plane, making it a performance poem (Matt, who is a real poet, said it was a CONCRETE poem!).
So, to cut a long story short, I was victorious, home I came with a prize under my arm and a swagger in my step. Awesomeness abounded.
The lesson here is really quite simple – inspiration comes when you chill the heck out, and start to play.
Here is the prizewinning poem. Oh and yes, it was just a little in-the-break competition, but there were some pretty awesome poets in that room, so I’m rather blinkin’ chuffed.
paper
rocketplane
eddies
skyward
drifts
slowing
groundward

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