August Challenge 14: Earthquake Poem

14-CC-Leo-Reynolds-550photo by Leo Reynolds

We are challenging you to write your own mini anthology of poems this August! To help you, every two days poet Jon Stone will set a new challenge on the Young Poets Network site to spark off a new poem.

14. Earthquake poem

This is based on the Dadaist cut-up technique from the 1920s. Get a friend to choose a poem which you haven’t read or seen before. Ask them to photocopy it and then cut the photocopy into pieces (they can be individual words or short phrases). Now try to reconstruct a poem out of those pieces, using as many as you can.

Jon’s example of a Earthquake Poem:

Earthquake Poem


Winged Snake

My head even then hot in the trees,
poisoned, or to cool on the battered path,
contemplating the heat and bright pond.
It was a small bit of rose in my shorts,
a snake in a field, winged and thin.
Someone without someone filled with a chill
when the grownups circled and settled,
slapped his princely black bottom.
I have seen acreage, furrows, twelve hours
stretched across the path.
I knelt under the squatting pond,
the last one from here with a pond,
only in the known air.
I left by car, did not see it was this long
from the deep and I almost had done him
to children found in my grasp.
And that was a long time ago
and the wings were trees.

Submitting your poem

Jon has now chosen his favourite responses to the August challenges, but you can still use his workshop to spark a new poem and send to one of the opportunities on our Poetry Opportunities Page!


Jon Stone

Jon Stone was born in Derby and currently lives in Whitechapel, London. He is co-creator of the multi-format arts journal Fuselit and micro-anthology publishers Sidekick Books. He won a Society of Authors Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and his collection, School of Forgery (Salt, 2012) is a Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation. He works as a court transcript editor.

Published August, 2012

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