Lit Writ

Workshop Exercise Poem #1

  • Graphic Alex Manley

Editor’s Note:

In an effort to strengthen ties with Concordia’s creative writing program, The Link will be featuring exercise poems produced by creative writing workshops. Below is a poem from David McGimpsey’s ENGL 425 Advanced Poetry workshop.

These were the instructions for the poem:

“Write a poem where the title poses a series of questions and the poem answers those questions. The poem is a rhyming couplet: each line at 10 syllables. The title is also arrayed in poetic lines: it is composed of 6 questions, each one taking two lines, each line in 10 unrhymed syllables.”

As you’ll see, not all participants follow the instructions to the letter—but that’s okay when they produce something like this:

• mitra kaboli

Why does it burn, itch and sting when I sit

Down to pee leaving me to feel unclean,

Along with the bumps that rub against the

Crotch of my blue jeans chafing my skin raw,

And what’s this sticky goop that runs down

My legs every time I sneeze a little bit,

But why do the girls snicker at me while

I am strutting my stuff down the hallways,

And meanwhile the boys walk up complaining

of a recent itch and a painful dick;

And what the fuck is that smell that rises

up to my nose from somewhere down below?

I am not a doctor, so don’t trust me,

But it seems you are a slut with VD.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 13, published November 9, 2010.

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