Avoid Those Darned Clichés!

It’s amazing how difficult it is to stay away from clichés when writing poetry… or anything, really! As part of last week’s fabulous poetry workshop with the performance poetry guru that is Anthony Anaxagorou, we had to work on random concrete nouns and associate them with interesting adjectives. Harder than it sounds to produce a coherent poem out of it. Here is my pitiful result, which I am linking to dVerse Poets Pub and their Open Link Night. Join us there for very diverse explorations of poetry!

Indifferent sunshine taps on the bleary-eyed windows
a cat burglar in white
but fails to wake her.
She grips the eiderdown, she swallows the grumpy phlegm
lodged in her system.
And ten versatile coffees later
she waltzes with the wandering pencil
on the frisky paper.
From the pregnant bag of ideas
she selects yet another, caresses it with bloated thumb,
while a reborn supper
announces itself shyly on the dancing table.

From British South Indians website.
From British South Indians website.
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20 thoughts on “Avoid Those Darned Clichés!”

  1. Now, that’s an interesting combination of words, Marina Sofia, but it works. You really paint a picture here of getting the day started. I wouldn’t have been able to even get a start on that!

  2. Not pitiful at all! I think this kind of thing is fun to do. In my writing group we had a prompt where you had to write a poem of 20 lines all starting with your initial. Here’s my (pitiful?) effort 🙂

    Mayhem at Mary’s

    Mary’s mansion was a
    Minefield of
    Misunderstanding.
    Mother sulked,
    Minding that
    Minnie looked
    Marvelous.
    Marcus sat on the sofa
    Mulling over
    Murderous thoughts.

    Mary served
    Mulled wine,
    Mysteriously winking at
    Muttley, the mastiff.
    Maybe the
    Marvelous roast would
    Moderate tempers.
    Mark my words,
    Mother mumbled,
    Mary’s gone mad.

    1. Ha, nothing like a very constraining prompt to rattle your cage and start those creative juices flowing! A fun poem, especially liked the mastiff and the marvelous roast which might moderate tempers!

  3. I have always found the technique of combining unusual adjectives with nouns a forceful one… I still remember when I found a “crazy door” in Bleak House.. You didn’t have to say there was a forceful wind blowing… Love what you did here. Especially Indifferent sunshine spoke to me… pulled me in. and yes the technique is wonderful..

  4. Well, I would say this is far from pitiful. As a simple lover of word and phase, I think you’ve got some real gems here:
    “Indifferent sunshine”
    “bleary-eyed windows”
    “grumpy phlegm” (by far my favorite)
    “wandering pencil”
    “frisky paper”

    🙂 What a great exercise, and fun results. Glad you shared.

  5. I had to take a moment to digest the thought of ten coffees! I’d be bouncing off the walls…haha. Well, I think the exercise is an important one to help get writers away from tiresome, overused clichés and you did an excellent job…not pitiful! Loved your opening with the “indifferent sunshine.”

  6. I like very much what you did with the forceful adjectives. I like ‘ten versatile coffees’ and also ‘pregnant bag of ideas.’ Really interesting what one can accomplish poetically when moving a bit outside of one’s comfort zone. A technique to keep in mind!

  7. I specially like: From the pregnant bag of ideas ~ It happens that sometimes the muse is reluctant but you got yourself a poem out of these phrases ~

    Good to see you Marina ~

  8. When i was young.. haha..
    all the way to 53.. i dreamed
    of creativity.. yeah.. something
    that came out of the inside
    of me not orchestrated
    by instructions outside..
    like that one era i
    composed a free
    floWinG piano
    song at age
    47 with
    zero thoughts..
    instructions..ugh..
    guidelines.. then..
    or pre-planned
    actions at all..
    i’m afraid that
    science of
    art kills
    art
    almost
    all togetHer..
    and ‘trust me’..
    E-scaPinG science
    was the job of JOB
    for me..
    and it’s
    the reaSoN
    i do not link
    at dVerse anymore..
    as i already escaped
    my life of
    THAT
    before..
    Art is Free
    to me.. but sure..
    science before as well..
    it’s okay to visit science..
    but i sure never
    wanna
    live
    there
    again..
    friend..;)

  9. There are not one but many favourite expressions throughout the whole piece – I just can’t decide which I like most. I suffer a lot on handling cliches myself.

  10. “Frisky paper”
    Works nice–ten coffees deep and paper can be buzzing with creativity, or anxiety, or something!
    Wonderful observational or impressionistic poem? Where you see a typical seen through someone else’s eyes so clear.

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