lists (& poems) (& what ray bradbury says)

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lists (& poems) all around us
lists (& poems) all around us

most people know i really love list poems. i love reading them, and i love writing them. i’ve also credited them with saving me on many poem-a-day writing challenges i’ve attempted. in these instances, i write the poem as the list evolves. the poem is the list.

only recently have i begun to experiment with lists as starters. with a couple successful recent poems, however, i created (or was given) lists and then used the lists as lines/words within the poems.

i didn’t realize, until reading this article – ray bradbury on how list-making can boost your creativity – from brain pickings, how/why that actually works. bradbury knows, and lists are tools he relied on.

read the article. it’s full of gorgeous words from bradbury. here’s just a taste:

these lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. i was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.

i was beginning to see a pattern in the list, in these words that i had simply flung forth on paper, trusting my subconscious to give bread, as it were, to the birds.

want poetry prompts based on lists? here are a few:

got others?


  1. First, thank you for sharing our prompt (We Drink).

    Second, this answers a question I’ve been reflecting on the last two days. Namely, how to pull from somewhere “deeper” than from where I am pulling.

    Great stuff. 🙂

    1. hi, sahm! i’m thrilled you stopped by to read. 🙂

      i think lists help us discover — vs. create — connections we weren’t aware of previously. there’s a difference, right? one is organic/genuine & one is imposition?

  2. I am honored to be listed in the same company as Bradbury, one of my favorite writers. I hope people share their results if they try the Tow Truck prompts! I always love to see what other writers create from my crazy ways of prompting myself.

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