Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer Rerun – Phrase Play

This week’s rerun takes us back to October 22, 2011. I chose this prompt to follow last week’s, which focused on clichés, because both deal with phrases.

This is another summer exercise that lends itself to humor, but that’s not written in stone, so enjoy this one and see where it leads you.

Have you ever listened to someone who uses a particular phrase so often that you expect to hear it whenever you speak with that person? Are there certain phrases that you use often in everyday conversation? Think of the “trendy” phrases that become (for me anyway) like fingernails on a chalkboard; for example, push the envelope, I hear you, piece of cake, a toss-up, I could care less, my bad, just sayin’ (and a new one that I heard recently – totally salinda meaning peacefulness, or a peaceful state of mind). Interestingly, every language has these well-used phrases; for example, in Italian in bocca al lupo, literally means “into the wolf’s mouth,” but rather like “break a leg” in English, this expression is used in Italy to wish someone good luck.

Choose a phrase (not a cliché but a commonly used idiomatic expression) and write a poem using that phrase as much as possible. Turn the expression over and around, spin it, repeat it, extend it, give it new meanings, mock it, praise it, see how far you can stretch it.

1. Begin by making a list of expressions that you, your family, or your friends use often, and then choose one to incorporate into your poem.
2. Alternatively, you might use several phrases throughout your poem, or perhaps even compose an entire poem of  “phrase plays.”
3. Have fun with this!


  1. What fun! I'm thinking summer phrases for this one.