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Cut Up, Cut Down, Cut Away

What's your trick?

To get out of my head and onto the page, I sometimes need to 'trick' my mind with a Cut Up Poem.

Some writers cut words from magazines and arrange them into lines and stanzas. Others gather, scatter & place their own orphan lines (phrases they wrote but haven't yet placed in a piece) to use as a foundation for a new poem. 

Whatever your method — cut up, cut down, cut away, cut back — this approach steers the mind into new territory. The best part of this prompt is the bubble of fresh associations and unexpected themes. You may be surprised where the poem takes you, and even a 'bad' poem is good exercise for the writing muscle.

Traveling, Questions While

Was I born this blistered, all cramp and knots?

Did I grow from scrubby plain to bear

every prickle, thistle and thorn?

Even now, after so many years, I still

travel through noise and discord, winded

and drawn across endless landscape.

Is sadness a habit?

I did not calculate the heart

how heavy this muscle

prone to stutter and stall

how tired and worn.

Who knows why you love 

why you can’t and why

you keep trying

Consider how you carry your

own weather, stormy or steady, how 

you study the horizon for every change.

What if you lost your self in the distance

spending your silence on the rise and ache

of this long answerless road?

— Drew Myron


Try it! Share your cut-up poem in the comments section of this blog post.

Reader Comments (4)

Great idea. Too bad I donated over 500 hundred books last year. Great post!

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCindi

Hey, it's good to "rehome" your books.

You just never know — one person's castoff could be another's poem making material. :)

January 23, 2019 | Registered CommenterDrew

I never thought about doing a cut up poem before of my own orphaned lines. That's actually a great idea. I'm starting to get a decent pile of 'orphaned lines' that I still love but don't have a home in any poem yet. I may have to try this!

February 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLissa Clouser

It's so much fun! And it's a good springboard to something unexpected.

Enjoy, and share your results with us!

February 19, 2019 | Registered CommenterDrew

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