Crawling out of the Poetic Rut

Inspired by a recent article on the Brain Pickings website I decided to set myself a few writing challenges – mainly to re-gain focus and to write with intention to stretch my Muse a wee bit (yes, she has become a little bit too comfy where she is right now).

So I did some browsing and put together my own list of writing prompts that I will use for the next few months.

My first one was Paperclips and Trains and resulted in a poem about a call centre.  This is a first draft and very much work in progress but happy to hear your thoughts.

Call Centre

At first
explosion of noise in a row of phones, gongs
of ringtones, faceless voices in discord: bored,
chirpy, confused, irate, ‘Whatever you say sir’
‘It does not matter’, chattering fingers drum
keyboards, screens flare up with targets,
excel, always, think success even when you fail

to impress that new girl two desks away.

The lucky ones escape at lunch time, huddle outside,

 stare at blue smoke rings disperse to staccato of trains
going anywhere but here.  The railway peters out
into the silent hills. The employees shuffle back

 to their chairs, put their customer first and tighten

the cords round their turkey necks. Beam, do not dare

to leave them hanging in no resolution air.

Live and breathe customer care.

5.01pm – a light bulb hesitates, then goes out; distant
billboard swallows the last slice of the sun and a man
hides his head behind the fence of his hands. A chain
of paperclips sways on his outbreath. One last ring.
Then silence.

I am linking this post with Stephanie at The Beautiful Misbehaviour (a great website for creative women) – Writing Warriors is a great new linky where you can share your writing progress, exorcise your poetic demons or ask for feedback on your work.

7 thoughts on “Crawling out of the Poetic Rut

  1. Thank you for linking lovely and for talking a bit more about your list of prompts. I love the sound of your list – how did you compile it? I like it because it sounds so unusual – I wouldn’t think of paperclips, and probably not trains either and I certainly would not think of them together! I think that is what I love about this idea, our brains get stuck in patterns, we use the same words, refer to the same topics. A list like this would be a good way to get us moving down different creative paths.

    And I love this piece but you already know that!

    Sarah Selecky does daily writing prompts but they are really for short stories. I did it for a wee while but stopped, Maybe I will start again and see if I can write poems from them instead.

    • I had no plan – just browsed through different websites and picked the prompts that I either thought I could never write a poem about or that I found intriguing 😉 A culinary poem is next on my list x

  2. I love the idea of a list of prompts, and it’s interesting that you picked ones that you thought you couldn’t write about – a good way to challenge yourself. And by this piece I can see you rose to the challenge and proved yourself wrong! I particularly love the last verse.

    Do you find that picking, then using your own list of prompts works better than following someone else’s? I think I might be tempted to cheat if I made my own list, and only include things that I secretly thought I could write about!

  3. Love that you actively picked things that you thought you couldn’t write about – what a brilliant idea. I am going to steal this. At the moment I just write whatever comes into my head. Time to add a bit of stress I think!

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