Poetry Issue 16

Issue #16 : January-June 2012

      Methodology: “PURPLE BUSH” by Dan Chiasson

      Description. In this exercise, participants are encouraged to think about superstitions, craft their own superstitions, and connect seemingly unconnected things to create a poem.

      Objective. To come up with a coherent work using diverse sentences and phrases associated with a superstition.


      1. Discussion might revolve around the following points.

        1. What did you feel after reading the poem? Can you identify specific passages that made you feel this way?
        2. How did the poem progress? How was the poet able to connect the superstitions?
        3. What are the characteristics of a superstition?
        4. Ask students to identify superstitions in the poem and superstitions that they know. How do superstitions work? How are the consequences related to the actions?
        5. What makes us believe in superstitions?

      2. List at least five existing superstitions about one subject. For example: superstitions about funerals, superstitions about things that bring bad luck, superstitions about weddings. Make your own if necessary given what we’ve learned

      3. Come up with at least five more superstitions of your own.

      4. Arrange the superstitions in a way that makes sense to you. Do not modify the language or add any transitional phrases.

      Note to instructor. This module touches on a variety of poetic elements and rhetorical devices, namely: imagery, cataloguing, juxtaposition, and structure.

      Time allotment. One hour, broken down into 30 minutes for discussing the Chiasson poem, and 30 minutes for writing.

      For the copy of the poem Purple Bush, please click here.