Tag Archives: teaching creative writing

‘So easy it is actually hard’: A student compliments my creative writing class

I gave my creative writing students (high school seniors) a “Kreativity Kwizz” a few days ago, and one of the students gave an answer that I read as one of the best compliments I could get on this class:

“I know that this class is by far the most unique, weirdest class I have ever taken, and that it is so easy it is actually hard.”

This statement shows me that my student really gets, really understands, that being creative doesn’t require doing the things that people typically think of as hard work: solving lots of math problems or memorizing facts for a test (although I do ask students to memorize a few poems). Learning creative practices requires different thinking, or even no-thinking, which are themselves  challenging. I also just love the way this student worded this idea, showing her own creativity!

‘Punk rock is not my dear Aunt Frank’: More Exquisite Corpse Poems (2nd of 2)

For introductory explanation, see previous post.

Her origami smells like your love of dogs.

Fast running is not very reliable.

Now is the time for score, and seven years until my cat dies.

Money is my favorite thing, with some stuff, and then the cops came home like I never say you can’t.

A healthy unicorn ate my baby girl that no one notices.

Old ladies love old men.

Love is admiring something’s beauty, and the beast is Miley Cyrus, cried the young son.

Who will watch your mind? I have no mind.

The man-eating bunny is just a rabbit.

Time is always poorly wasted.

Easy does it, but hurry up now, you child of mine. You are my sunshine babe.

My shiny bicycle, wobbly and shaking — it’s hard to define this section.

Youthful old people still die.

Yum is what candy tastes like, heaven with sin.

Amazing things always happen never.

The one who has the pirate once said, “this is so long, bro.”

“Me scurvy is acting up” is the way where the wild things dance like nobody is watching you pee while eating away at my insides.

Distorted TV pictures make me or a tiger wild and dangerous.

Breathing like I’ve been running makes me very unhappy.

My domain name is nothing but letters.

The everlasting time traveler gets lost at Petro.

I don’t care to explain yourself.

Sometimes the dog can whistle your problems to someone.

Monkeys fling poo towards me because I want yogurt.

“Off with his head and toes” are in LeBron James’ poetry.

Music is the worst thing that I like most of the time here and now.

“Bro” is the name he lives in.

Here lies the body. Of course I like salmon.

A sweetie told my mother to say “that is good riddance; I hate going to the air balloon.”

Overrated is rated too overly.

An overly ambitious cab driver has smells that are lightly crisp, and remind me of Kit-Kats.

Hate is not nice love.

Big tigers are very big; Europe is not so.

Cows never loved you.

Punk rock is not my dear Aunt Frank.

Turtle beats the hare every time I see you are my nemesis now.

Kittens will kill you hard enough to scratch glass.

As it always seems, you’ve broken the black cat of me.

One flower is all left turn on Second Street lights dangerously placed.

Was the chicken really worth anything anymore? And that I need to know about the chupacabra in the bathtub, yo. How are you, man?

You punched my big nose is what I smell.

Two dolphins walked into bars and held on tight.

Another plane of existence is futile, ye wench.

You are beautiful, no matter of fact.

Will you sign your name and find yourself there?

Word is a stupid word.

Dinosaurs blame the government, twisting words and alibis.

Words are sometimes very weird-beard on your face.

“Rawr” is what a lion is the phrase for.

Mandatory that you have fun time to sleep in a pool of vomited words like sour and sweet mixed together.

Number the amount of children [who] are becoming new elders.

The grand piano sounds heavenly in silence with really big bells.

The gingerbread man I’m behind now: Thanks for not being there.

Elsewhere must be near.

The kindergarteners are not the best of all I get me out of hell.

Hell has cookies, apparently, so has come the lion.

Upset emotions were lacking with her old blue shoes that I want a dog in.

The Jonas Brothers’ rock is the best music, is my life-blood, is a gross sacrifice to my grandpa’s parrot.

Murder is a serious crime like stealing someone’s lipstick.

What are you really saying that he doesn’t want to know many more?

More than words can describe this thingy-thing-thing, what is this thing that is a noun, for they can always degrade.

Fire burns things I love is a beautiful thing.

“Bing bong” went the door and indulged our interests in having many things like syrup.

I think of songs [that] make me sad about that one day in this room there, blue-azul-rojo like no other ocean [that] has all sorts of the beautiful autumn day.

Songs that are very good habits die hard.

I feel the same as the carrot that is quite ridiculous, sir.

A treacherous life in water comes from my mouth.

Mouth to mouth makes life a beautiful thing.

Body [is] just cyberwire essence of the mind’s thoughts I’m having. Right now is the time for the love of God who never was there.

Sometimes life sucks as much of your knowledge lies!

I dislike the fact that unicorns are scarier than goblins.

I hope you find yourself a new beginning-end-middle era that begins too soon.

Too soon I will be free puppies on my street next to Wal-Mart.

Always will my hair be as big as you plus me equals love.

Last chance to waltz alive on the inside like potato chips and bologna.

Leg hair flowing like goddess divine is a key to success in Halloween costumes.

This morning arrived late today.

The squid thoughts: squishy movement, tanky, tall, buff, skinny, short, but tall enough to look at her sadly.

Tiger Woods’ prose is a true novelty I can’t read.

The wind is messy little kids that ruin the moment by saying things like “ooow weee” all the way home.

Home is where I live like you are never ever deal[ing] in absolutes.

Math is not my strong-suit of my body armor.

Amazing grace, how sweet the trees are saying stuff and things to do what you want whenever.

Click here to see a longer listing.

Poems: Power corrupts and absolute Power Rangers are very cool (Exquisite Corpses, 1 of 2))

Here are some lines I took from the Exquisite Corpse poems we, my students and I, made this semester. Minor changes (punctuation, appropriate word endings) were made to improve readability. I know this is a long list, but there were many creations that amused me. I love how poems created somewhat randomly, unintentionally, end up being so wonderfully surprising.

Power corrupts and absolute Power Rangers are very cool.

Rain, rain go away, come to the octagon today and get clobbered, bro.

We have to write me a love poem and get arrested at K-Mart.

Fear is sneaky, lurking around folks who are weird things happening on Thursday.

Ouch, say the little boy and girl kissing Romantic poems.

Become one with silence, like a wet sponge was wet from water.

A black hole in one is hard to punch in the face.

In my shoes, I have nothing more to say.

At home, I can be yourself, no matter what.

You dream like an ice cream cone for my grandma because they are actually aliens we’re living in.

We died peacefully in their sleep.

Skinny things blind me sometimes because I am graciously throwing a brick at Barbie.

Who can tell me how the fish jumped over the hill and under the influence of love?

Kindness is an awesome quality furniture and many antiques like grandpa! Oh, snap of tea that moves like Jagger on the floor shook like a cat is on me.

America is the place where the flowers are smashed.

Men were looking at her body, which is not a zebra.

Big ears help you hear the bear play trombone, and the orchestra exploded.

You can be whatever you can’t know.

You should go canoeing like a one-armed bandit who snatches the pigs dance near the starlight.

Hell is very hot like my twin sister who has eleven toes painted pink and green.

I am ready for sleep so deeply that you— yes, you; no, you— have no exciting features.

The best man fell down the street on the spiraling seas of mystery like a missing sofa.

Poor people like me get rich or die trying to sleep.

Weaponized baloney smells like ten men in a sandbox.

Yes, said the woman: are not men and women making up the yellow brick roads everywhere today?

We can’t all have a giraffe fighting penguins.

Shirtless, the penguins swam swiftly.

Dominate the pomegranate distribution trade.

Come fly with magic birds eat birds because cannibalism.

Cool beans, said someone who is not you.

The girls head south, bear left, and a monkey leapt out about on the streets.

Death is not the end of my little finger.

Poems: Exquisite Corpse method

In my high school creative writing class, we write poems in the exquisite corpse fashion, this way:

In class: Each student gets a piece of ruled paper and a piece of scratch paper (for covering up the writing on the ruled sheet).  On the ruled sheet, they write some random 4-word phrase, putting the 4th word on the following line, as such:

all the best

luck

And then they cover up the first line, revealing only “luck,” as they pass the sheets to the person next to them (while students are in a circle).  The next student sees ONLY the last word – in this example,  “luck” — and adds to it:

 luck OF THE IRISH

WHO

and then covers up everything on the sheet except the word on the new line, “WHO,” and so on, around the room, for about 20 minutes.  At the end, students remove the cover sheet and read the entire thing like a continuous poem, or maybe they just pull out some unique lines.   It can lead to some interesting lines of potential poems.

We then use these Exquisite Corpse sheets to write additional poems: 

Poems #1 & #2: Take words and phrases from your Exquisite Corpse sheet and combine these into a poem freewrite. Minimum 25 words.  Do this twice.

Poem #3: Write down the words from a column of words on that sheet.  Write 20 words as a poem.

Poem #4: Take the words from #3 and replace each word with a word that sounds like it.  Write as a poem.

In this post, there are some samples taken from Exquisite Corpse poems created in my classes this semester.