Writing Exercise: Opposites


This last writing exercise (see first and explanation here) was probably my least favourite, because it felt the most artificial and restrictive to me and results in a kind of inscrutable poetry. But the intent is to generate interesting phrases and images that wouldn’t naturally come to you, and I can see working with it into something more like me.

Anyway, Elee got this exercise from an American poet named Jericho Brown. She gave us a poem and had us write down the opposite of each word, word by word. From that, we took a small part where we felt there was some interesting phrasing or imagery and smoothed it out so it sounded less like something a robot would generate.

First here’s the original snippet of the poem Guest by Nuar Alsadir that spawned my selection:

… Resistance, then fire, then to your room

without toys. Later, it’ll be the boys
to whom your friend will cater,

seem to love best. Such is the fate
of the steadfast; you’ll never be a guest.

Now mine:

Submission, before water, comes from within, with work. First we’ll pretend some girls exist whom my enemies won’t starve with indifference. None see chaos without wavering; we’ll always feel like coming home.

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