ENG210: Week 2

This week we are generating words, phrases and poetry from images. We have been directed to art sites to examine art works to get our juices flowing.

This week, I was being workshopped. It’s very nerve wracking especially as I am the first!

Here’s my submitted piece of work:

A Wandering Wondering

by December Medland




Torchwood, Doctor Who,

alien, outerspace, inner space

inner space, spaces, places, faces, companions, Rose.

Rose, thorny subject, love lost, forlorn.

Forlorn featureless expanse, empty, unknown yet tensely excited,

tensely excited watching excitement travel across time.

Travel across time! New worlds, fresh worlds, golden suns on windswept planets,

two moons, two stars, we sail them all.

We sail them all on the Titanic, on the ship in space, with the same fate,

same fate, same outcome as legend would have on Earth.

Earth. Dirt. Mud.

The soil on my shoes, the soil in my hands as I plant another seed.

A seed. An idea. A question. A Wondering.

A Wondering. I wonder who is Doctor Who.

The Inspiration

I started with the word association exercises of Week One and really liked the staccato effect it created. I wanted to write a piece that had jolting changes of rhythm, which leapt and crashed in speed and vibration. Interestingly, I didn’t really know where this poem was going to lead me and it has, surprisingly, described Seasons 2 and 3 of the new Doctor Who series. This was totally unexpected, as I started with such an innocuous word, Flame. While working on the piece, I tried to make it deviate, expand and then come full circle back to the beginning.

My hope is that students will help me with the pacing and word choice, particularly as I’m hoping to maintain a staccato rhythm but keep it interesting, engaging and fresh.

My husband believes poetry that doesn’t rhyme or stick to the ABAB formula isn’t a real poem. I’m hoping my fellow students are a little more open! J

Thanks for your time in workshopping with me!


I received some really useful feedback from several students, and am grateful for their responses. It’s hard to critique a poem when poetry is so subjective. I’m not looking forward to critiquing others work!


Kinross-Smith, Graeme. “Seeking poetry” in Writer: A Working Guide for New Writers, Kinross-Smith, Graeme , 1992 , 6-20
Kinross-Smith, Graeme. “From poetry to prose (extract)” in Writer: A Working Guide for New Writers , Kinross-Smith, Graeme , 1992 , 21-25

Williams, William Carlos; Tomlinson, Charles. “The Horse” in Selected Poems , Williams, William Carlos; Tomlinson, Charles , 1976 , 149-150

Ondaatje, Michael. “Sweet like a crow” in Running in the Family , Ondaatje, Michael , 1982 , 76-77

Kent, Jean. “To the ironboard” in Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets , Hampton, Susan; Llewellyn, Kate , 1986 , 227-228

Watson, Samuel Wagan. “‘A bent neck black and flustered feather mallee'” in Smoke Encrypted Whispers , Watson, Samuel Wagan , 2004 , 36

Watson, Samuel Wagan. “‘back road'” in Smoke Encrypted Whispers , Watson, Samuel Wagan , 2004 , 117

Watson, Samuel Wagan. “‘floodlight sonatas'” in Smoke Encrypted Whispers , Watson, Samuel Wagan , 2004 , 95

Writing Exercises:

Use a visual image (for example, an artwork) or an object as a trigger for a piece of writing. The object can be as simple as you like – say, an orange, or any ordinary household object – or something that is meaningful to you. The more quotidian the object, the more free you are to create new connotations, yet known objects can be redolent with emotion. Try both kinds of object and see if it makes any difference to what you write.

To develop the text you need to consider your exercises as drafts, selecting from them what you feel is most important or interesting, and reworking and rewriting them. Look for contrasts and other structuring principles on which to base your writing.

Some websites that take you to excellent examples of art works to stimulate your writing are:

My Writing Exercise:

Lifting my head, I mix ochre with moondust
A little stroke upon the palette
Like friends who haven’t yet met.

A heavy pause hangs in the air
I now feel hesitant
Unsure if that’s what I really meant

With a swirl, I surrender the pigment
to the expanse of white
dancing with a frenzied might

But just as I am about to make the final motion
I feel a tingle and halt
I have learned to heed this type of jolt.

Slowly, I lower my head again and study with a trembling heart
Seeing patterns unseen before
Dripping carelessly to the floor.

With a deft stroke, I drown myself in vermillion
Darkening until it’s like blood
that’s dried deep into mud.

And finally with confident abandon
I rise again to the textured patch
And know that it has met its match

The artist thinks this is all his doing
With his fumbling creative rush
But it’s really me, the paintbrush


3 thoughts on “ENG210: Week 2

  1. Pingback: ENG210: Wk 3 « December @ University

  2. Pingback: ENG210: Wk 4 – Assignment « December @ University

  3. Comments on this piece from Niven (the tutor)

    Hi December,

    This is my feedback:

    Quite a good piece of free associative writing, Dec. The overall thematique was a kind of visionary exploratory experience (you might want to read H.G. Wells’ short story entitled “Under the Knife.” Some good associative writing there that does not come across as ‘random’. Keeps to the inner logic of his narrative) which juxtaposes neatly with fixity or the concrete (earth).

    However, the repetition of certain key words tended to make the piece a little academic. That is, the repeating of the last word in the previous line to begin a new line merely emphasises the textuality of your narrative. In other words, the reader gets the feeling that you re trying to free associate, rather than travel through the imaginary instinctively.

    Next, free associate by all means, but surprise the reader as well, through the choice of imagery. While space is clearly mysterious enough as an ‘object’ of enquiry, can these spaces be ascribed human qualities? “spaces, recalcitrant, incommunicative, indifferent”. There is only a short step from indifference to forlorn-ness. and then, from there to windswept emptiness a further step into nothingness.

    You have set out your patterns well, but perhaps now defamiliarise for the reader what is familiar.

    I agree with James that there doesn’t seem to be a clear theme. I know this is a free association piece, but you will need to create a stem idea that holds things together. I do see a binary theme of space/earth/inside and outside. but I think a few choice images and words can steer the piece closer to a consistent theme.

    I really enjoyed this piece, though because it displayed a finely tuned structure and balance, despite being potentially chaotic. I like that it had a healthy dose of each.

    I think you were very brave to go first. But you have and you did with some pizzazz! I also attach my annotations on your actual doc. Have a look, please.


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