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Poetry Exercise: Write a Blitz Poem

Veronica has poetry and short stories published in several literary journals. She holds an MA in Literature from American University.

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Introduction

It's no secret that writing poetry can be challenging. Successful poets put a lot of thought, time, and effort behind their seemingly effortless poems.

But don't let that scare or frustrate you. Anyone can write poetry! And writing poetry is actually a lot of fun. Whether you're a seasoned poet, or someone just getting their feet wet, practicing different forms of poetry and experiencing different ways to create poems make writing a fun journey of discovery.

The following exercise is part of a series of prompts. These prompts are made to help get your creative juices flowing, and push you out of your comfort zone.

You can find other poetry exercises from this series here:

Poetry Exercise #5: Write a Blitz Poem

I first heard of the "Blitz" poem from Robert Lee Brewer in his Poetic Asides blog, but it is a poetic form talked about on poetry blogs all over the internet. The Blitz poem form was created by Robert Keim, and is a fairly simple form that is fun to write, though it can sometimes get a mind of its own.

The Blitz has 50 lines, written in short or cliche phrases, with no rhyme scheme or syllable-limitations.

Here's how it works:

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  • For 48 lines, there is a pattern where two lines start with the same word, and this word is taken from the last word of the line before it. That may sound confusing, but it's simple in practice (I put words in Bold to help demonstrate the pattern):

All you can eat
All is lost
Lost and found
Lost in the woods
Woods are haunted
Woods have streams
[...]

Each line can be a cliche or a short phrase that evokes a scene, image, or saying.

  • Lines 49 and 50 don't follow the pattern. Line 49 is the last word of line 48, and line 50 is the last word of line 47, both followed by an ellipses:

[...]

Find a home
Find a missing person
person...
home...

  • The title of your poem is the first word of line 3 and the first word of line 47, joined with a conjunction or preposition. Using my examples above, the title could be, "Lost and Find."

Tip: Before you get started, write 1-50 in the margin of your paper. It is much easier to keep track of your lines this way.

This is a fun poem to write, but it can lose focus quickly. As you write Blitz poems more and more, learn how to reign them in and focus on a particular subject or allow it to develop into a story.

As always, have fun with your poetry and keep writing!

Post Your Poem

If you followed this exercise to create a blitz poem, post your poem or an excerpt in the comments. I would love to see what you come up with.

© 2022 Veronica McDonald

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