Wednesday, March 21, 2012

1 Second a Day

1 Second Everyday - Age 30 from Cesar Kuriyama on Vimeo.

Fabulous. I love this video.When I teach introduction to poetry I assign my students the task of writing one couplet a day. It sounds easy. It isn't. They want to write poems. They want to write a complete thing. A couplet, I argue, is a complete thing. A couplet, closed, open, epic, a unit of poetry in itself. And as a beginners assignment the couplet is fairly generous. Sometimes I just assign word pairs. Or word trios.

The point is partly about the daily practice of writing, yes. Creating an intellectual space over time is essential. Like meditation, where once you have the breath you don't always have to be sitting to tune in, you can tap in wherever you are, writing one couplet a day leads to great things.

The assignment also instills discipline, patience, and illustrates the benefit of accumulation and fragmentation. When students try to pass off seven couplets written at one go as seven couplets written over the week, everyone can quickly see the difference.

Accumulation. Mindfulness. Dailiness. Attention to the small things. One word. Two words. One second. Two....

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