Window on the World

Photo credit Gregory Crow.

I know I didn’t make this exercise up, and there are lots of different versions out there, but here’s my take on it.

1. ‘Free write’ for ten minutes – don’t take your pen off the page, don’t judge what you are writing, don’t edit it, don’t even read it. Keep your pen moving and writing until the full ten minutes is up (it can help to set a timer).

2. Take a sheet of paper – preferably an old newspaper or magazine with a good amount of text in it, but you can also use a blank sheet of A4.

3. Cut a small square out of the sheet – about 2 x 4 inches (5 x 10 cm).

4. Take this ‘window’ and place it on top of your page of free writing. The empty frame will automatically select a square of your own text and cover the rest.

5. The words that the frame selects could be the first draft of a poem already, or they could be the beginning of one. Or perhaps when you read them they prompt you towards another idea or direction.

6. The frame doesn’t need to be made out of newspaper or a magazine, but sometimes it’s nice to have the option of incorporating that text into early drafts of a poem.

7. Try making either one long poem from this starting point, or three shorter poems that are somehow related or connected to each other.

Hinemoana Baker

Extract from The Exercise Book, available in all good book stores or online from VUP.

Read more about Hinemoana on her website.