Writing exercise

Writing for liberation exercise: Madlib poem

The purpose of this exercise is to have some fun, play with those creative juices, and get them flowing for ideas to come. We’re going to use someone else’s poem though, so the product coming out of this obviously can’t be used elsewhere: but in the process of doing this exercise or afterwards, who knows what other ideas will be spawned!

Hint: Try not to look at the poem these words will be used in: it makes it easier to come up with something unexpected.

Answer these questions
0: In general, for this poem, choose a painful issue (personal, social, political…) that will frame your answers to the following questions:
1. Something that represents your issue, that exists en masse (eg crowds, clouds, pigeons…) _________________
2. Two nouns starting with the same letter: _____________ , ________________
3. An object found in landscapes (eg hills, buildings, rocks): _____________
4. An object that represents what is being lost: __________________
5. A “bad” person who is part of the problem: ________________
6. An adjective that would describe (5): ________________
7. Another object, similar in type to (4): _______________
8. Who, what sort of people, or an individual person, is invisible in all this? _______________
9. What is growing out of control here? ________________
10. A horrible, disgusting place: __________________

Fill in the blank:

Dictators – Pablo Neruda (translated)

An odor has remained among the ____1_______:
a mixture of _____2______and _____2______, a penetrating
petal that brings nausea.
Between the ______3________ the graves are full
of _____4_________, of speechless death-rattles.
The ______6______ _____5________is talking
with top hats, gold braid, and collars.
The tiny palace gleams like a watch
and the rapid laughs with gloves on
cross the corridors at times
and join the dead voices
and the _____7________ freshly buried.
The ____8_______cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,
whose large blind leaves grow even without light.
______9______has grown scale on scale,
blow on blow, in the ________10_________,
with a snout full of ooze and silence

If you’re interested, here’s the original poem.