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A Right-Brained Writing Prompt from WritingFix

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Serendipitous Poetic Phrases

This poetry technique was created for WritingFix after being presented to students writers at the Northern Nevada Writing Project's annual Piñon Poetry Festival.

Writer Instructions:

This is an on-line version for an activity that works incredibly well as an activity for your journal or your Writer's Notebook. Devote a page to "Favorite Poetic Phrases," and begin collecting words and phrases from published poems that strike your fancy. Once you have a big enough collection, you can take two or three of them and create an original poem or an original piece of writing that "hides" them inside.

We at WritingFix collect phrases from our favorite poems.  Do you?  You should. Collecting favorite poetic phrases really teaches you to be on the look-out for great-sounding adjectives and verbs.

Here's how you make your own collection: When we read a poem that we really like, we jot down one, two, three, or four-word phrases from that poem that made us appreciate the words the poet has celebrated.  Here are some examples from our Poetic Phrase Collection; all come from real poems we've read and enjoyed:

snow spring       deep dark gold       O Muse       ashes of youth          
dappled drab       marble words          cold canyon     spilling fire           
swift and sweet        falling stars and eagles        a room of silver   
ruined feathers   in darkness dwelt    the kiss of emerald    slick and sleek        
                 nectar thoughts    nevermore     silken, sad uncertain

The idea of this on-line prompt is to have you click each button below once and to be given three random phrases from our list of favorite poetic phrases.  Then you must write something (a poem or a story or a letter or whatever) that somehow includes all three poetic phrases within it.  Can you do it?

Choose three random poetic phrases from our collection,
or (better yet) use phrases from your personal collection:


Remember, it's okay to use our favorite poetic phrases for this activity, but it's more fun to create your own list in your journal or writer's notebook.


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