Happy Birthday! The Wild and Wonderful World of Word Lists!

Frida Kahlo born on July 6, 1907

I am teaching a Richard Hugo House class on, you guessed it, The Wild and Wonderful World of Words Lists. These lists become my best friend when I am writing; they are useful in dozens of different ways.

I'm including right here an easy lesson on using Word Lists. Enjoy!

The Wild (and Wonderful) World of Word Lists

Why use a word list?

To jump yourself out of your default vocabulary (globe, blue, world, cream).

To create an extended metaphor --- all words about cars or dogs or water.

To make your writing more surreal.

To focus closely on the language  of one subject  (anatomy, photography, cats).

When writing on a specific subject such as film (jump cut, cant angle, montage, establishing shot).

Ways to Construct a Word List

Take the last word of every line of a poem and write towards that word.

Keep a basket of words on your desk, in your living room, even the bathroom!

Notecards (keep notecards with a dozen unconnected words and one directive).

Look over the spines on your bookshelf, what catches your eye?

Look at the titles of books in a bookshop; Pegasus is posting photos of their shelves.

Use the words from a favorite poem and put them through the Cut-up Machine!

Other Sources:

Your subconscious
Your friends/students subconscious

Online Resources: