15 A Creative Response – Class Exercise

Authors: Mary Beth Cancienne, Shameka Cunningham, T.J. Hendrix, Leona Sevick

Target Group: Undergraduate

A creative response to the poem “Poetics as Response to Certain Tropes as Allergens” by Douglas Kearney (Furious Flower 2019, pp. 352-354).

Exercise One:

Present a panel of “Poetics as Response to Certain Tropes as Allergens” by Douglas Kearney to the students and have them examine it quietly.

  • The facilitator should specifically use the word “piece” rather than poem.
  • Students should write notes about their findings and curiosities as they review it.

Invite students to share their findings for 5-10 minutes.

The facilitator will then ask “Who thinks this piece is a poem?” Have the students share why or why it’s not a poem.

The facilitator shares an excerpt of Kearney talking about his process:
Douglas Kearney – Navigating the Briar Patch: Poetry As a Collision of Texts at timestamp 10:14

The facilitator will show the students the rest of the poem.

The students will be instructed to take one of the panels and write a portion of it in a more recognizable form.

The facilitator will review styles and forms with students before they begin to write (sonnet, haibun, couplets, quatrains, tercets, stanzas, rondel, etc).

Exercise Two:

Students will watch a short Ted-Ed video from Melissa Kovacs: “What makes a poem…a poem?”

The students will view and listen to the poem Afrofuturism (Blanche says, “Meh”) by Douglas Kearney.

The facilitator will lead the students in a discussion of this poem and the first by Kearney. Students will be encouraged to focus on craft elements such as repetition, caesura, and structure as well as how the audio recording connects to the visual effect of the poem as written.

The facilitator will introduce the exercise of turning a poem written in a recognizable form into a visual or non-standard poem (this could include audio, performance, etc). The students will be instructed to write a visual poem/non-standard poem; however, it will not be an original piece. They will take one of the five or ten poems we’ve read in the Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry anthology and write it in the visual poem style.

Students will be given time to review the poems and discuss them with partners, if they choose.

Once assignments are completed, share and discuss how this changes the experience of the poem.


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The Furious Flower Syllabus Project: Opening the World of Black Poetry Copyright © 2024 by Anastacia-Reneé; allia abdullah-matta; Ariana Benson; Mary Beth Cancienne; Teri Ellen Cross Davis; Shameka Cunningham; Hayes Davis; Tyree Daye; Angel C. Dye; Brian Hannon; T.J. Hendrix; DaMaris B. Hill; Meta DuEwa Jones; Shauna M. Morgan; Adrienne Danyelle Oliver; Leona Sevick; James Smethurst; Dana A. Williams; L. Lamar Wilson; Carmin Wong; Dave Wooley; and Joanne V. Gabbin (preface) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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