Monday, October 31, 2011

Poems That Scare Me

Happy Halloween! I've got my fun-size Snickers bars in a grinning skeleton cup ready for tonight's trick-or-treaters, and Poems That Scare You up at Escape Into Life, so I'm set!

The paintings by Charles E. Williams II are beautiful on their own but scare me in the context of the poems, with their fear of water. Also I'm scared by the water moving into motion at the bottom of the painting, and transforming from water, which it isn't, into paint, which it is. Why should that scare me? I don't know!

Yesterday I gave my poetry workshop the assignment to "write a poem that scares you." Of course! But we were bolstered by our Snickers and red wine, so we survived.

If you are a poet, here you go:

Write a poem that scares you.

They tell us it’s good to write about our fears and obsessions, but it can also be scary!  Make a list of things that scare you.  Maybe a categorized list: things that scared you in childhood, in various stages of adulthood, and now.  Notice what recurs, what stays.

Reflecting on the list, prewrite a series of sensory images, at least one for each sense, preferably more.  Images, not metaphors—so all your senses are engaged in the physical and sensory here and now.  And not clich├ęd (Halloweeny) scary images. The images might not be scary at all.  Yet.


Hannah Stephenson said...

Ok, so the poem I just wrote to post tomorrow began with your idea of scariness....but not on a visceral level, more analytical and conceptual. So the poem isn't that scary (well, it depends) after all.

But quite a good idea. I find the image scary,'s like the page is the edge of the world.

Kathleen said...

That edge of the world thing scares me, too, or that the world is now dripping off into some barely made abyss...

I will look forward to your poem, Hannah!

Maureen said...

Wonderful feature, Kathleen!

The artwork is certainly eye-catching!

Ellen Wade Beals said...

Beautiful paintings