Concentrated Looking

Here’s an exercise I came up with and it worked well in a writing group this week. The purpose is to sharpen your descriptions. Use it as a journal exercise or to deepen the meaning of a significant object in a poem or piece of prose.

Concentrated Looking

Select an object to enrich your setting and explore it in the following ways:

  • Was it found or sought out?
  • Did it grow or was it made?
  • What is it called and who named it?
  • Describe its shape, size, color(s) and use.
  • How much does it weigh?
  • What is its surface texture?
  • What does it contain? What contains it?
  • Who owns/uses it?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • How old is it? How long will it last?

The more mundane the object, the more it will challenge you. Your description may range from minimalist to opulent. For examples of these two concepts, read William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow,” and Francis Ponge’s prose poem on soap. Both are readily available on line. Have fun with it. Come back to it often.

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