Poetry Warm Up

Last Saturday I attended a class taught by Wendy Call “Self-Editors Toolkit: Improve Your Own Prose” at the Chuckanut Writers Conference.  During the class she had us do a fun poetry practice game or warm up.  Thought I would share it with you here.  I enjoyed doing this, perhaps you will also.  I find that warm ups like this loosen up the mind and place our thoughts in a good working space. 

First- draw 2 boxes that are shaped like the formats you prefer to use when you write poems.  For example- a long thin rectangle or a wide square.

Step one/first box:  write a short poem to someone close to you.  This will be like a letter to a close loved one or friend, share with them something that you believe in  This will be called “Poem A”

Step two/second box:  write a short poem to a person who is far away, physically or otherwise.  Introduce yourself not using your name & mention something about traveling.  This will be called “Poem B”

Step three:  combine the lines, writing a new “combo” poem, only fudging the verbiage slightly so to help the poem gently in this fashion: 

1st line A
1st line B
2nd line A
2nd line B

Here is what I came up with:

Poem A
To my son, about the night we sat around our chiminea one warm summer evening:

UFO Pilots

I believe
in the stars
that moved
above the

Planes do not
zig like
those stars
that night

Many missed
the dance
in the sky
while they
the flames

Poem B
To an unknown/future friend:

Table Setting

I wear spit up
proudly on my shoulders,
hand print of spaghetti sauce
covers my back pocket

Preparing a dinner
while mothering three,
a place setting I set for you,
my friend far away

Tonight you dine with us
and the miles shorten
so salt can be passed
one hand to another


I believe
I wear the spit up
of stars
proudly on my shoulders,
watching them move like
hand prints of spaghetti
above our chiminea,
slipping into the back pocket
of my memory

Please also check out Wendy’s web site for more helpful ideas and inspiration:


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