Saturday, March 28, 2015

Poetry Prompt #20: Writing With Whitman

Hello friends and writers!

Just this past week, I indulged myself in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.  I began this book some years ago (early college) and have made it a goal to complete the book (at last) by the end of 2015.  The book taps out at just over 600 pages (at least my copy does, remember how many times Whitman edited this book?  shew!) and it's giving me a run for my money.

I'm actually enjoying his poetry more than I thought I would.  I find myself nodding my head, smiling at the way Whitman viewed the world so lovingly and with such open acceptance.  I suppose psychologists these days would say that he wrote for the collective conscious of society.  However, from his point of view I think he was just very in-tuned, very accepting and open.  He mentioned in one poem how his bare feet sort of kissed the earth as he walked along the shore. So far  (I'm just over 100 pages), he appears to be a real liberal, a lover of all life forms and all people.  There's something to be admired about that!

Anyway, this week I thought it would be fun to write like Whitman...or at least write with some of his words and ideas.  So here goes!

Part 1:  Choose Your Topic

In Leaves of Grass, scholars have noted certain topics that Whitman really enjoyed writing about.  His most common thematic approaches were:

1) The Self
2) The Body and the Soul
3)  Nature
4)  Time
5)  Cosmic Consciousness
6)  Mysticism
7)  Death
8)  Democracy

Pick one topic that you would enjoy exploring with your poetry.  Maybe two, if you feel they'd go together well.

Part 2:  Create Your Word List

Below I have selected a huge list of words from Leaves of Grass.  I tried to find the more interesting words that would tie in well with each of the chosen themes.

moonsails                 swift                  carols              immortal
mason                      continental         carpenter         brood
native                       chants                pavements       savanna
stars                         plains                 rain                  snow
hermit                      divine                soil                   globe
arts                           faces                 retrospective     pulses
fire                          ceaseless            ever-tending     visible
mistress                  soul                    glittering           war-like
contemporary         city                     geography         companionship
religion                   descend              arena                 divine
pensive                   silent                  germs                excess
streams                   ocean                 democracy         prophetic
shifting                   flickering           release               demand
winded                    twisted                kiss                   reckless
composite               occult                 echoes               clandestine
illustrious               thread                 miracles            profound
superb                    death                   endless             sierra
plateau                   hemp                   shores              traveler
primal                    vista                    fence                backwoods

Pick 10-15 words for your wordlist/wordle.  Try choosing words that you feel would easily allow you to write about the theme you chose from Step 1.  Likewise, if you want to make the exercise more challenging, try selecting words at random.

Once you have your topic and your word list, it's time to write with Whitman!

Hope you enjoy writing with the words of Whitman this week.  Grace us with your company and link up, or save the prompt for a rainy day!