Jack Myers / poetry / The Portable Poetry Workshop Project / writing

The Portable Poetry Workshop: Connecting Content – Triggering Words

“Spring” by Dani via Flickr

Triggering words open up new opportunities for content and direction in our writing. As Jack Myers says, these words can act as “a semantic springboard that uncoils enough upward lift to give the poem new momentum.” Such words can elevate theme, create or extend a metaphor’s matrix, or even determine and/or lift a plot point.
The many different elements of just one word have the power to transform a poem. Have you ever had a word or series of words act as a spring for your writing? What it the sonic or the connotative quality of the word that set your pen on the page to either write a new piece or revise and old one, or was it something else?
Let’s work on one of these exercises today:
From Jack’s conclusion of this section for revision: Triggering riff – Choose a detail, image, or action in your poem, and then improvise a series of associated images, details, or actions.
Triggering word – chose a word that appeals to you in your reading today and write down other images, actions, and situations that you can associate with this word. Weave a poem from what you’ve written and allow the poem to end with the word you’ve selected.
I’ve been attracted to the words “safety pin” and “pencil” lately. What about you?

8 thoughts on “The Portable Poetry Workshop: Connecting Content – Triggering Words

  1. Thanks for this post, Andrea! Strange thing is that the word "springs"–of the type in your photo–is in the first line of a poem I started yesterday, following a dream the night before. I just spent some time finishing a first draft…:) Happy writing to you today.

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