Natalie Crick: Snow – A Writing Exercise for Winter

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Image

Winterlandschaft, Caspar David Friedrich, 1811

 

In this white time of year our thoughts drift out of the window looking for snowflakes. We rub our hands together for heat when our bones are cold and our minds are dark.

The stillness of winter and the quiet of snow can make us more receptive to new stimulus. The landscape is changing and there is a sense of anticipation in the air. A sense of waiting. Now is a perfect time to write.

Here are some ideas for triggering your winter writing. To me, winter is a beautiful but bleak time of year. I find this poem, ‘Winter’ by Billy Collins, very evocative of the bleak qualities of winter. This poem was published at: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57444/winter-56d23af926a87

 

Winter

 

A little heat in the iron radiator,

the dog breathing at the foot of the bed,

 

and the windows shut tight,

encrusted with hexagons of frost.

 

I can barely hear the geese

complaining in the vast sky,

 

flying over the living and the dead,

schools and prisons, and the whitened fields.

 

 

 

Having read this poem, you could consider these questions:

 

Does this poem stir any emotion in you? If so what kind of emotions?

 

Do you think Collins enjoys the winter season? If not, how does he view winter?

 

What do you think about the winter season?

 

Does this poem remind you of any memories in your mind from past winters?

 

What poetic devices does Collins use in his poem?

 

What poetic devices would best express your own winter memories?

 

To aid the drafting of your poem you could turn to visual inspiration. I often find that paintings or photographs give me more interesting ideas for poetry than words or memories.

 

This featured painting is Winterlandschaft by Caspar David Friedrich (1811)

 

What can you see in this painting?

Does this painting raise any questions in your mind?

Who is the mysterious character in the painting?

What might you feel, see, hear, smell or taste if you were in the painting?

 

 

 

Now write your own Winterland.