Creating Surprise in Your Poetry


How Do Poets Come Up with Images That Surprise?

In this free virtual workshop, Lynn Davidson will help you see the importance and pleasure of developing surprise in your poetry. She will introduce you to some exercises you can use to help you find the strange and apt image, an endeavour that can often takes a sideways route, inviting chance and accident. You will have the opportunity to workshop some of your ideas.

This workshop is for writers who are keen to take their poetry forward but could use some advice and inspiration to do so. We’re also keen to help people who feel their writing has stalled to get things moving again.

At the end of the session, Laurie Garrison, Founder and Director of Women Writers School will tell you about the new Women Writers Network. Members of the network have free access to live and recorded events in this series as well as other benefits.

***This session has now taken place.***

Here’s a Summary of What the Workshop Will Cover

How to recognize and analyse images that evoke surprise.

Introduction to exercises that can help you create surprise in your own poetry.

A least one live exercise to help you create surprise.

Workshop discussions of participants’ work.

Your Instructor

This workshop will be led by Lynn Davidson, an Edinburgh-based poet, novelist and creative nonfiction writer. She has published four collections of poetry including Common Land (Victoria University Press) and How to Live by the Sea (Victoria University Press). She has an MA and PhD in creative writing as well as experience of teaching at Melbourne University and Victoria University of Wellington.

Get Ready for the Workshop with this Poetry Writing Challenge

This session has now taken place, but if you’d like to try the exercise out anyway, you can post your response on the Women Writers Facebook page.

If you’d like to prepare for the session beforehand, try out the following exercise. See how far you can get, but bear in mind that we do realize Level 3 is next to impossible!

You can submit your response in advance of the workshop for a chance to get personalized feedback during the session. You’ll receive instructions on how to submit your work when you sign up.

Level 1

Write a ten-line poem. The poem must include a proverb, adage, or familiar phrase (e.g. a stitch in time saves nine or don’t count your chickens before they hatch), but you need to change it in some way.

Level 2

Write a poem as instructed above and Include five of the following words:

cliff              blackberry

needle           cloud

voice             mother

whir              lick

Level 3

Write a poem as instructed in Levels 1 and 2 but make sure you write it in 10 minutes or less.

Sign Up to the Email List to Attend Future Events

Sign up to join the Women Writers School email list. We’ll send you a copy of Laurie’s article ’10 Things Every Women Writer Needs to Know’ as well as our regular emails about courses, webinars and other offers. You can unsubscribe at any time.