Poem Spark Sept. 17-24: an oldie but goodie

Hello fellow poetry entrepreneurs,

I’ve been going through a bit of a dry spell lately with poetry. Sometimes, when faced with a blinking cursor and white page, the only thing that works is to fall back onto my favorite method for sparking a poem: pick ten words at random from your favorite poetry book.

I’ve been reading a lot of Jack Gilbert this year; his poetry seems to be sticking with me as I go through each day. So, without further ado, here are ten words from his book, “Refusing Heaven“:


Jack Gilbert has a tendency towards abstract concepts that remain grounded in reality, or at least, his version of reality. Most of the verbs in his book are simple ones: break, said, wakes, etc. The action and setting revolve around these small verbs, letting the reader create movement in his/her own way from the message of each poem.

You task for this poem spark: borrow ten random words from your favorite poetry book, chapbook, essay, online journal, or use the ten words I found and write a poem. Don’t overthink and don’t try to hunt for the “best” or most complicated word. Instead, let the words come to you. They’re waiting for you to give them a home: a poem in which to get comfortable enough to speak clearly.

Good luck!