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The Poetry Walk

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

It was many years ago, for a program we were teaching in at Bard College, that Dawn Lundy Martin scripted this idea of the Poetry Walk in order to teach students that there is order in seeming randomness, and shifting one’s perspective in time and space is the best way to experience how language, when not directed into a premeditated “meaning” creates complexities of syntax and form. In other words, don’t set out to write a poem — set out to have an experience, and mark that experience through language.

The Poetry Walk remains one of my all time favorite exercises — it elicits incredible pieces that genuinely startle and wake up the imagination. Most responses are akin to: “I had no idea that these seemingly disconnected fragments of just me walking around and noticing the world around me could create such an amazing poem!”

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