Sunday, October 22, 2023

From abstractions and gerund phrases to images and conjugated verbs in my poetry and songwriting course

As the students otherwise write flat poems full of abstractions, my main focus in my poetry and songwriting course is always on poems grounded in images. But even when the students begin to write better poems with images that express rather than name abstractions, they often share another weakness: they write in fragments based on gerund phrases rather than in complete sentences with main clauses with conjugated verbs. It's not hard to turn the gerunds in those phrases into conjugated verbs with clear subjects, and when they do, their poems get even better. Once they've established a foundation of images and main clauses, they can then reach for abstractions and fragments. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 22 October 2023)

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