Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Backward(s)//(s)drawkcaB


I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.
~Abraham Lincoln

Backward-Pointing Thumb, pic by L. Kolp


During the editing process, do you ever read your poem from the bottom up? In The Crafty Poet by Diane Lockward, which I highly recommend (and not just because one of my poems appears in it), Diane says reading lines backward “helps me to hear each line individually, and to hear how it’s working as a unit, and also to hear if the overall music of the poem is really working.”


This week I’d like to take this concept a step further. Write a short poem, 12 lines or less, and then read it backward, from the bottom up. The lines aren't backward, just the order of the lines. Rewrite the poem backward, with the last line first and the first line last: a palindrome poem. Make it work. Here’s an example:


I fall short.
I try, I really do,
but voices in my head scream out to me.
They pull me into a state of laziness
where unmade beds call me to sleep
and illusionary dreams caress my cheeks,
tell me it’s okay to take a nap.

Tell me it’s okay to take a nap.
Illusionary dreams, caress my cheeks--
unmade beds call me to sleep.
They pull me into a state of laziness
where voices in my head scream out to me.
I try, I really do, but I fall short.


My original poem is only seven lines. Notice I used different punctuation, rearranged some of the articles in the second stanza. What do you think?

If this is not for you, write a backward poem, or a poem about something backward. Or just use the word backward in your piece. I can’t wait to see what you come up with… or should I say down with? Hmm… I’m confused.

Backward Alphabet, photo by L. Kolp


I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.

35 comments:

  1. smiles...i had another i was working on but an experience today...made me go a completely different direction...it will be up in the morning...

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    1. Our muses have minds of their own, huh?

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  2. Loved this prompt, Laurie!! Mine is up.

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  3. This prompt was just right for todays news and situation....When things that are not in my control are throw things back at me it is all backwards and really wrong and .....wishing I could have everyone do what they said they would do or would happen etc...I'd rather be biking up hill then working with lawyers and bankers. Guess I would have been better off
    reading their words backwards it would have come out the same LOL BUT this was fun and did kind of work on the second try...Something new and I have never even tried this before so ...well I guess I will publish it but not my best poetry

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  4. A very good prompt Laurie! I had fun writing my poem. Happy Wednesday!

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  5. Laurie, I also have to say I enjoyed your example poem...which got me on the right writing track. Also enjoyed your original photos which did a good job of illustrating the BACKWARDS concept!!

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    1. Thanks, Mary. The first photo was at Disney World a few years ago and the second was taken during a tutoring session with a dyslexic. I asked him to put the cards in ABC order, and that's what he did. He is now in honors classes.

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  6. i wrote something........
    not sure what i wrote ..........
    hope what i wrote made sense........................

    hope what i wrote made sense.......
    not sure what i wrote......
    i wrote something :-)

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    1. LOL... glad you did. Thanks, Nandini.

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  7. Ha, Laurie, I enjoyed your prompt so much I wrote a second one this morning.

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  8. Love this, what fun. I've been trying to write some new poetry but the words aren't coming at the moment.

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    1. Writing a short poem helped me get into the groove... I do hope to see you back.

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  9. great prompt, Laurie. Fun and mind-stretching. I hope to join in later.

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  10. Nice poem, Laurie. You make it seems so easy.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It is very challenging, that's for sure.

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  11. An interesting exercise, Laurie. I had once read a sestina that was written with a backward technique and it was a real work. Thanks for the challenge.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it... and your contribution is quite impressive!

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  12. I finally got there - after a few attempts!! This was a great challenge and it certainly makes you think what words have meaning s and how i use them. Thank you for this.

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  13. An ultimate creative plot Laurie. You rock!

    Hope you like my post :)

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  14. What an interesting way to polish and revisit older poetry! I had fun.

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    1. You have encouraged me to do it that way, Margaret!

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  15. What a great prompt, Laurie! Here I am posting past 11:00 PM, long day at work. I managed to use "backward" in the poem. Thank you for the inspiration! :)

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    1. I'm so glad you took the time to join in after a long day, Lorenda. Hopefully it was a stress relief.

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  16. Very creative, Laurie. I combine in my poem palindrome with 'He said. She said' from Verse First.
    Thank you!

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  17. I love this prompt. Wasn't sure I could pull it off when I started writing, but was surprised how it turned out. I also used the He said, She said prompt from Verse First.

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  18. I'm down with naps....I'll have to give backward some thought....

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  19. ... when I looked at the Crafty Poet thing and thought about looking back and reading a poem from 'back to front', 'down to up', what ever ... I thought of fibonacci sequences ...

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After you post your poem and comment, please take the time to visit poems of other poets! People will add poems throughout the week, so check back every couple days to catch what is new.