Sorry to be putting this in The Alley, but that's where our last Free Verse Discussion went. I'm not sure where else it might go. Any suggestions are welcome, as long as they're not anatomical.
I have an exercise to propose for a free verse piece.
And I noticed the one that Ringo put up, and I'm actually working on it myself. So thank you, Ringo; I'm not sure where it's getting me but the journey is a lot of fun, and that's about all I can ask for.
My exercise is this.
Go to a place where you have other people's poems. They should be poems that you really like a lot, and that have been published someplace, and that really ring your chimes. If you have any foreign languages, use something from that, though it's not necessary.
Read the poem a couple of times, so you really get a sense of the movement and flow of the poem, and what you like about it.
Now, start at the beginning, and line by line, change everything in that poem. I mean everything. If the poem starts,
I love Paris in the Springtime
you might try, for example,
My third Grade teacher was tepid about Trenton all through the fall;
Nobody goes to Hong Kong for its earthquakes.
The idea is to go through the entire poem in this way and to write a sort of parallel text. When you finish a first draft, go back and make and changes you want to make for continuity, pacing, sound and overall fun. Share them, and we can talk about them back and forth.
If you'd like to see an example of a finished version of one, check out Donald Justice's "Warm, Peach Colored Ode."
Any thoughts and questions are welcome.