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Jan Wood Poet Laureate15 Minute Adjustment:
Revising Poetry

Copyright ©2009 by Jan Wood

This is the second in a series of short articles in which Poet Laureate Jan Wood shares valuable tips for poets.

Revising Poetry: Nouns in Motion

Most often one is tempted to take the physical presence of a person, animal, object and show its identity by sight. The challenge is to describe objects, persons and animals by their sense of movement or motion. Stronger and newer images can be evoked by using the other senses like the sense of touch and motion. This exercise does not have to be restricted to movement. Freshness in description can also be achieved by using taste, scent, or sound.

Quick Check:
Look at a poem you are working on and highlight some of the nouns in it. Identify the way each would move through a crowded room. Imagine them dancing, hunting, playing basketball. Make a list of verbs that depict motion for the nouns you have selected. Write a fresh descriptive employing the new verbs to create a fresh glimpse of the nouns.


No sighs and head scratching. Nothing but bounce and stab.
          From "Thrushes" by Ted Hughes

Earth sweat, sea breath, hangs about…disconsolate untouchable
          From "Fog" by Helen Cadbury

Moon that presses silver at the edge of curtains piercing through to tantalize
         From "Howling" by Pam Galloway

watching his foot sink down through stone up to his knee
         From "Progressive insanities of a Pioneer" by Margaret Atwood

Rapids tumbling over rocks—perpetual motion immured in crystal stillness
          From "Water is Verbs" by Jean Mallinson

A sea that bares its bosom to the moon
          From "The World is too much With Us" by William Wordsworth"

She perches, budgie-like, tries to ignore me
          From "The Knitting Club" by Sonja Kozakawich

It is the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset
          From "Farewell" by Isapo-muxika (Crowfoot)

She walks upright from the root
          From "Upon Appleton House" by Andrew Marvell

Carla Braidek: Canadian Poet 1958–

• Braidek is able to harvest the boreal forest and taiga in which she resides preserving its magic in form of description… “with fall you flame brilliant”

• Her first book, Carrying the Sun, was published in 2005 as part of Thistledown’s New Leaf Series for emerging authors.

• She lives in harmony with nature combining a love for growing trees and plants with words that earn respect.

Ideas slowly ooze from earth, …trickle past sticks
          From "Tigers"

the morning a tinkle of ice-collars on lakeshore reeds
          From "This is the Way"

A fire nestled in an old washtub
          From "Listening"

Her coat flaps before her, drags her along
          From "Earthbound"


Metaphor exercises and tests