creative writing ten minute spill

Write a ten-line poem. The poem MUST include a proverb, adage, or familiar phrase (examples: she’s a brick house, between the devil and the deep blue sea, one foot in the grave, a stitch in time saves nine, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, someday my prince will come, the whole nine yards, a needle in a haystack) that you have changed in some way.

You MUST also use FIVE of the following words:

cliff, needle, voice, whir, blackberry, cloud, mother, lick.

Here’s the other catch; you have to write the poem in ten minutes. Now, I am not going to be standing over you with a timer, but it is a pretty interesting challenge.

Here is a list of idioms if you need inspiration for a familiar phrase. There are simple ways to change the phrases – sometimes by just switching two of the words with each other, such as “only as weak as the strongest link.” The point is to have fun with words on paper. Play around.

This activity is due by the end of the day Sunday, December 5.

Here is an example from Sarah Marslender:

I wake at the edge of a cliff,
my pajamas flapping in the wind.
The moon winks behind a cloud
and I sigh: this, again –
before turning toward my house,
my waiting unmade bed.
A thought needles me.
My mother’s voice asking what if
this woman’s work is done –
one step too many when steps are few.

This exercise was developed by the poet Rita Dove.

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