Some people (myself included) take lots of notes during a lecture or other program -- for it seems that the physical activity of placing the words on the page is part of the process of installing the ideas in memory. For me, also, the creation of a paragraph or a poem depends on the teamwork of hands and brain.
One of the ways that poets engage themselves in creating new thoughts is by accepting the guidance of formal constraints -- creating the fourteen lines of a sonnet or the nineteen lines of a villanelle with strict patterns of rhythm and rhyme and repetition. Below I consider the question of what I want for my birthday -- and use that in my struggle to write a sonnet:
You asked me
for a birthday gift suggestion . . . by JoAnne Growney
I want a gift that doesn't cost a dime
or a life. Offer me a magic thing.
Find me a number, perhaps a prime --
to check my tendency to subdivide
myself. Avoid digits like two and five
whose familiarity weakens magic.
Give me an emblem to wear on my T-shirt.
Perhaps I'd like a big red seventeen,
a bold insignia that's not a bit obscene
and shows up on the calendar each month to say
that I am more than half-way through the days
I count, in search of truth mixed with a dream
of August picnics and homemade peach ice cream.
If you'd like to review the structural requirements for the sonnet and villanelle, here is a link to more information. Sonnets previously posted in this blog may be found here, and previously posted villanelles may be found here.