Exercise: Phone number poem

From our unit on the line.

Write a poem using your own phone number, with area code, as the template. Specifically, the number of syllables in each line should match the corresponding number in your phone number. If your area code is 360, the first line has three syllables, the second line has six, and the third line is blank (a stanza break).

The poem should read naturally—as if it just took this shape of its own accord. Don’t worry about the subject, let the form lead you where it will. An example:


How did you                                         3
find your way to this place?                   6
Oh, I was just thinking                          6
one day about toads,                          5
toads that look like stones, stones     6
that are toads                                                  3
when no one’s looking                          5
at them at all.                                    4

Not anyone’s actual number. Exercise adapted from Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing. Image up top is cropped from Kenneth Patchen’s “Imagine Seeing.”

Patchen – Imagine
In “The Argument of Innocence” (1976)

Imagine a rotary phone with 16 digits to range among. A computer dreams in hexadecimal . . .

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I write draw teach blog in and from the Pacific Northwest of America.

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