Weaving Poetry and Dreams

Dream Ex. 1Poetry and Dreams have a lot in common. Their preferred language is metaphor. Whether short or long, they hide as much as they reveal, surprising you just when you think you know the answers.

Use one of your own dreams that you would like to explore and try out the following exercises. Don’t try to “figure out your dream.” But don’t be surprised if you do have some new ideas and information to add to your Self-Inventory!

Exercise One can be found in The Natural Artistry of Dreams (1996) by Jill Mellick but is not included in her updated version The Art of Dreaming (1996-2001).

Patterns of language can reflect patterns of energy within the psyche itself: action (verbs); the qualities of action (adverbs): states of being (intransitive verbs such as to be, to die, to sleep); people, places, things, and concepts (nouns – subjects and objects); and qualities (adjectives). (Mellick, 1996, p.108)

Draw a chart with three columns. Head each column: Verbs, Adverbs, Adjectives and Nouns. The illustration here may be helpful.

With one dream in mind, place words from your dream into appropriate columns. Without hurrying, perhaps using your journal to assist you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • With which types of words do I connect most strongly?
  • What do I remember most in my stories-dreams?
  • How might this reflect my experience of inner culture? (p. 110-111)

Exercise Two comes from The Art of Poetry Writing: A Guide for Poets, Students, and Readers by William Packard (1992). It is an interesting extension to the dream exercise above. Try it out and have fun expanding your dream and poetry vocabulary.

On a blank sheet of paper, make lists of different parts of speech, the first examples that come to mind. Begin by noting categories: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections.

Try to put 50 words in each category – or as many as you can think of within, say, a ten-minute interval for each list. Don’t ask why you’re making these lists, just get the various words down on the paper.

When you finish with all these lists, you’ll probably surprise yourself with how certain word clusters suggest a poem. Begin playing and shaping them together in whatever way you like. But first you have to get these lists down on the page. (p.146)




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