Our world is a world of borders and edges. In most spheres of our lives, we’re required to observe prescribed boundaries. We live among separations, always trying to find places where edges meet and connections happen. This week, let’s think about edges and what they suggest to us. Free write for a while, then go back and read what you’ve written. Does anything speak to you?
1. Write a poem about edges in your life? Ragged edges? Smooth edges?
2. Write a poem about a time when you found yourself at the edge of something?
3. Write a poem about a time when you were caught between edges?
4. Write about an “edge” in which you met or left someone special.
5. Write about a time when you (metaphorically) went over an edge?
6. Write a poem about the edge or edges of something (an object, a place, a state of mind—the edge where land and sea meet, the moon’s edges, the edge of a star, the edge of romance, the edge of a forest, the edges of someone’s face, the edge of a dream).
7. Write about something (or someone) that’s “lost its edge.”
8. Write a poem about a time you were one the “edge” of an important decision?
9. Write a poem based on this quote from E. L. Doctorow: “We're always attracted to the edges of what we are, out by the edges where it's a little raw and nervy.”
1. Don’t be afraid to let yourself go with this. It’s okay to be “edgy” (to astonish your readers, not with shock value but, rather, with an element of mystery, a unique voice, and/or understatement).
2. Use imaginative language and distinctive figures of speech (similes, metaphors). Let your poem stand on “the edge of understanding” (leave room for the reader to enter your poem, to interpret, and to imagine).
3. After you’ve written your poem, refine its rough edges with careful editing (and remember that good editing usually means deleting rather than adding).
“The Edges of Time” by Kay Ryan (audio)
“Edges” by David Cooke
“Edges” by Allen Tate
“On Edges” by Adrienne Rich
“Edge” by Sylvia Plath