Reflections on Assignment 1

Excitement soon turned to trepidation when I discovered that I’d have to write poetry, more so when I had to submit two poems for my first assignment. I love to read poetry. I’m in awe of people who spend hours creating mellifluous lines with hidden meanings and stand out metaphors. I, however, am not one of them.

The exercises on poetry did not come easily to me, especially the first one. I couldn’t recall a dream making the process frustrating, as I was eager to start, however, I found the exercises on observational writing enjoyable. Both of my poems came from doing this exercise.

I spent a few days in New York City and my first poem: From My Window was spent observing life in Riverside Park on the upper west side of Manhattan.

105th and Broadway is my second poem. I took myself to my favourite café on the upper west side and sat outside for a couple of hours recording observations of life on Broadway.  I really liked doing this research. I’m not used to observational writing and was amazed at how much information that I noted down; I certainly had enough material for my urban poem.

This is where the difficulty started for me. I found that I couldn’t write a poem without it rhyming – I tried to keep it freeform but my pen thought differently! It was challenging to say the least. Assonance and alliteration was in the back of my mind with both poems but I’m not sure that I hit the mark. It’s definitely something that I need to work on.

Both of my stories came from project 5, exercises 5 and 6. I really enjoyed writing them. 18 Rue Caffarelli was written from factual experience during a trip to Paris and A Thing of Beauty came from time spent observing life in Square du Temple, a park in the Marais, the 3rd arrondisement of Paris.

During the course of Writing Skills, Part 1 I have found my notebook to be a good companion for my observations and exercises. Thanks to Julia Cameron’s: The Artist’s Way and Dorothea Brande’s: Becoming A Writer, my morning pages provided some useful tidbits (when I wasn’t writing about my life’s woes) and managed to complete a lot of the exercises from them. My notes were a great source for ideas.

Writing Skills, Part 1 is finished. Phew! Now I need to tackle Part 2…

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