Friday, October 31, 2014

Revising Titles of Poems

Today I'll be working with the poets on the titles of the poems they've written this term. Here are some of the options I'll offer:

1. If the tile of your poem is long, try a title that is one word. Shapiro: "Nebraska." Langston Hughes: "Harlem."
2. Start with a participle or gerund--an "ing" word. James Wright: "Lying in a Hammock . . ."
3. Make the title a complete sentence: "Jack Eats Plastic"
4. Theme: so old-fashioned! "Of the Unfairness of Stomach Aches."
5. Allusion. "A Bird Eats my Liver"--allusion to Prometheus. "Something's Gaining On Me"--allusion to a statement by Satchel Paige.
6. Adjective plus noun: so simple! "Red Shoes." "White Folks."
7. A word or phrase from a language other than English: might sound pretentious, might not.
8. A title that springs from a word or phrase in the last 3 lines. This works uncannily well.

hans ostrom 2014

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