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Assignment: “I Believe” Exercise

When we write, we start with what we know. This is an exercise that makes us reflect about ourselves and also about the big and small things that matter to us. You may write this any way you would like, but consider if you write your “beliefs” in groups of three, that you might want to vary it just a few times to surprise the reader. One line is just one extended, described belief. One line breathlessly lists 5 short things. This slight variation can give the poem texture and variation–so it is more interesting to the overall structure. 

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The items are usually not related, but they might begin to speak to each other–resonate or contrast–between or within lines. They are large things that matter- perhaps real beliefs or big categories (family, love, etc.) and then the details that inhabit our days (our favorite flower, the way we like our coffee, etc.). So much of writing has to do with the large ideas we want to express, but we can’t do that without creating a vivid world of real things- details and descriptions. Also, this helps to make us imagine our writing voice- what choices of subjects will we make, how do we want the reader to feel, and how does this all come from us, the writer?

Here are example of a couple of lines from me:

I believe in an open ending, the delete button, and the last sip.

I believe in Angie Mazakis’s poem ” Love and Containment ,” the heat in a pickled radish, my daughter’s 4-year-old scream.

The great thing about this exercise is that you are creating a poem out of your every day life, and the details you choose do not need to be exotic, just specific to you. The ordinary becomes interesting when it is supplied through the details. Show us little observations and “things” through your perspective. I know the things I wrote as an undergrad are different today- maybe they haven’t changed but I’ve added items and emphasized some over others. 

Instruction: Try to make this at least 9-10 lines, but feel free to add more- no more than a page. You will receive full credit if you fulfill the requirements of the assignment. Eventually, this will be a part of your portfolio at the end of the term.

Here are 9 things About me you can use to write this assignment

I love to drink latte

I love roses

I love to travel

I love to read novels

I love to spend time with family

I love my dog, Ollie

I love cupcakes

I love to cook

I love to plan wedding events

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