Wendy Hind from Lincoln, Nebraska, turned to poetry when her son was born with critical health problems. As her interest developed in poetry as narrative medicine for the soul she started the Tiny Poetry project, writing and sharing poems that deliver small but potent doses of hope, resilience, compassion and empathy. She shares some of the poems and talks about how the power of poetry is being increasingly recognised in the medical world.
Wendy also shares a poem written in response to Abbie Neale‘s writing exercise on clothing.
Wendy’s tiny poetry exercise
1. Think of a time when you or a loved one was ill. Take a few moments to write down five to 10 words that come into your mind when you think about that experience.
2. Next write a corresponding word next to each of the words you have just written. Maybe it is a descriptive word, maybe an action word, maybe a metaphor.
3. Now read through the group of words circle those pairs that resonate the loudest with you. Add one more brutally honest word to each pair.
4. Take these words and attempt to compose a poem. The poem may be long at first. Often tiny poems are the result of paring down a longer poem – much like taking your initial list of words and taking out those words that are the least powerful.
5. As concise brevity is the point of a tiny poem, every word must work towards the meaning of your poem.
This is a great exercise for focusing the mind and writing about experiences that might be difficult to address. As you can see from the notes above, the initial list of does not have to be particularly creative or original. The words may or may not end up in the final poem but can help to pinpoint the one concise thing you want to say about the subject you’re writing about.
As always, submissions are encouraged. Please send you poems here to be featured on the blog or podcast.
You can find out more about Wendy and the Tiny Poetry project at www.tinypoetryproject.com
Books by many of the poets featured on the podcast are available from the Poetry Non-Stop bookshop here. All books purchased via this link help to raise money to keep this podcast going.