One-Word Poems are on the menu at the Open Write today at http://www.ethicalela.com/one-word-poems/
Kim Johnson, Ed.D., lives in Williamson, Georgia, where she serves as District Literacy Specialist for Pike County Schools. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, camping, and spending time with her husband and three rescue schnoodles – Boo Radley (TKAM), Fitz (F. Scott Fitzgerald), and Ollie (Mary Oliver). You can follow her blog, Common Threads: patchwork prose and verse, at www.kimhaynesjohnson.com.
Kyle Vaughn is the author of Calamity Gospel (forthcoming from Cerasus Poetry, 2023), The Alpinist Searches Lonely Places (Belle Point Press, 2022), and Lightning Paths: 75 Poetry Writing Exercises (NCTE Books, 2018), and is the co-author/co-photographer of A New Light in Kalighat (American Councils for International Education, 2013). His poems have appeared in journals such as The Journal, A-Minor, The Boiler, Drunken Boat, Poetry East, Vinyl, the museum of americana (2022 Best of the Net nomination), and The Shore (2021 Pushcart Prize nomination). He teaches English and is the Director of the Writing Center at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. Find him at www.kylevaughn.org / twitter: @krv75 / insta: @kylev75
In his book Lighting Paths: 75 Poetry Writing Exercises, Kyle Vaughn encourages writers to explore the power of a one-word poem. He describes the process of distilling favorite poems or lines down to one word to create one-word poems. Orlando White says, “The process of writing a one–word poem on the page involves playfulness, along with the willingness to take risks with imagination —much like a toddler who scribbles letters for the first time on paper, using the crayon to draw what a word might look like, and creating language outside the boundaries of standard writing.” (Play and Imagination: On the One-Word Poem by… | Poetry Foundation) This form may seem simple at first, but it could prove to be one of the most challenging forms of poetry we ever write. Let’s try!
The interplay between the title and one word can provide context, illumination, and clarification, emphasizing the importance of title in poetry. The title can be as long as you wish. Write a one-word poem. You may choose to read a favorite poem and then let it simmer down to one distilled word, or you may write one without another poem driving yours. No need for rhyme scheme, either! 🙂
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