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1000 Ways to Write a Poem

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In ancient China, speaking of ten thousands of anything was slang for what we would now call a gazillion — an unimaginably large, but finite, number. The Chinese speak of the 10,000-Li Wall — parts of the Great Wall of China — and Chinese Buddhist prayers speak of the Ten Thousand Things that make up the world as we experience it. I have heard it said that it takes 10,000 hours to learn to do anything well, that there are 1000 ways to cross a room, fifty ways to lose a lover, 31 flavors of ice cream, and more than one way to skin a cat.

This is a forum for writing poetry — good, bad, indifferent — just to write.

In the game 1000 ways to cross a room, writers write a way to cross a room on a slip of paper, and then put all the slips into a hat. Then each person draws one one of the hat and has to act it out.

I will draw on exercises from writing books such as Steve Kowitt’s In the Palm of Your Hand, and Myra Cohn Livingston’s Poem Making, to fill this blog with 1000 ways to make a poem.