How to Write a List Poem with Callum Wensley

Right sip it because this will be our
thumbnail. That’s was like that’s what makes the time in my videos you just get
me going ah. Hello Poetry Pals welcome back to another video this week I am
learning how to write a list poem and there is only one poet for the job
Desiree was unavailable so we asked Calum the poet I guess it slightly
different to my other house of write a poem videos I’m not going to show you my
system with my little steps Calum is going to show us what a list poem is and
how he writes it so we’re gonna get a new perspective on how to write poems oh
yeah so Canon yeah hello let’s go at calendar
permit on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook
yeah um forward slash Calum the poet what’s the list poem this poem is a poem
that’s done in a list it says it in a name just setting something out in a
particular order it can either be in a structured order and the sort of two
that I have are we argue on my better ones a step-by-step guide to the daily
routine of a straight white man aha which has a kind of order because it
starts with the waking up doesn’t quite get to the end of day it kind of veers
off into some sort of social commentary but that was always going to be the
point don’t piss out straight white men and the other is what to do when your
child is hurting themselves which is okay yeah yeah and it is just a sort of
step by step of what you can do as a parent or as a friend or someone who is
going through tough times what you can do sort of step by step just going okay
this is what you have to offer bearing in mind it is the other person’s
experience that they’re going through and I recently came across a Samaritans
leaflet which has it in five steps but it’s pretty much exactly how I did it
and I’ve never seen that leaflet before and I went yeah nice cool go man I will
link it hell yeah I also before Colin came around had a
quick google and found some really good written ones as
examples and I’ll link them down below as well yeah so you can see one that
pops to mind that I’m pretty sure is a list poem is
Rudy Francisco’s scars letter to your new boyfriend or letter to me but it’s
something to that effect it scars forward slash something that’s on button
poetry I think and that’s so I have questions about lists poems I hopefully
have answers do they have to use numbers no do they have to not use numbers cool
numbers or not so it could be like a step step-step
guy yeah so it could be like I tend to lean towards numbers I think that is
because as a person I’m quite angle retentive and just having that extra
little bit of structure in there gives it a nice little order my spice world
the pub in yeah is a list poem yeah and it repeats itself a lot yeah and has a
lot of repeating clauses so I’m writing about a poem about Spice Girls because
blah blah blah blah blah and I doubt I would repeat that I’m writing a poem up
Spice Girls or it’d just be because because because yeah doesn’t lift poem
have to do that no I’ve just thought of another list poem is Elvis McGonigle’s
31 ways to describe Donald Trump’s hair car yeah so the reason I’ve got cut him
here is because it’s a bit of a running joke that he writes a lot of list poems
not all of the poems you write in this place but you do write more than most
people yeah my question is is why list poems don’t you specifically but what
makes a list poem such a useful tool oh I think I think for me they come easily
I think I’ll get locked on to a certain idea or a certain theme and for me a
list poem is just writing down every idea you could
that is related to that thing right so I wrote one at tonic which was all the
things I want for Christmas this year and some of them were serious some of
them were jokes I did say at one point I really really really want a zigg a zigg
oh man I gotta get that in there this poems you can take them seriously
or you can take them not it’s you just having an idea and wanting to explore as
much as you can which is what any poem is really but with lists poems you have
that option to be a bit more broad and you can focus in go really in depth on a
certain bit then pull yourself out I normally do that with something like
comic relief so I’ll chuck in a zigg a zigg Arline and then in that moment
everything that was going on before it has brains that has been soaking and I
can either then move on or I can go back with a slightly different perspective on
that same thing and go okay slightly different point of view no this
and this okay poetry is the simple expression of mixed feelings and for me
I think your explanation of the lists poem is what sums that up perfectly it
is what you know you can really have a lot of mixed feelings in in this poem
because as I said you can turn it but it’s also very simple yes it’s one of
the easier forms or structures in there there isn’t really a form or structure
as always to you it is a list that makes it a list poem yeah and you know it
doesn’t have to be like a one-word thing it doesn’t have to be the same sentences
you can’t do it with me you can make it rhyme you can like the bumper bumper bar
or you can really experiment with line lengths within the same poet yeah I like
that so how do you come up with ideas for
poems a mixture of ways like there’ll be some moments in life where I’m like yeah
that’s a poem abour moment and it then becomes of weighing up is that going to
be sort of a structured poem is that going to become a list is that going to
become something a little bit more experimental if it’s something that
doesn’t too much emotional guested what’s doing
chants hurting ourselves is slightly different yeah one for that but if it’s
not too emotionally heavy chances are I’ll be able to turn it into a list poem
you do a lot of prompt groups as well don’t you
so for this we’re gonna write a list poem now and we’re gonna go through your
steps so do you want to give each other a less poem to write let me give each
other a topic yeah I’m down for that okay cuz I want you to write less poem
about how try less poem okay if that’s okay yeah because I think that would be
wonderful maybe a little bit circle jerky yeah oh
absolutely but when is poetry not circle jerking Hey
okay a letter to all of my favorite teas ah wait okay wait Alette so that’s the
title a letter to all of my favorite team yeah take that
that’s your prompt take that in whatever way you wish but turn it into a list
part so we’ve got our what we’re gonna write a poem about now my next step is
to find a place to write we’ve already got that
okay then my next step is to mind map but I don’t I’m not a visual writer I do
everything up in my rather large cranium so what do you do and so it tends to be
what I would do is go okay this is my title and then I just start writing and
it’ll be okay the first couple of steps might not be great but they are at least
I have then put pen to paper yeah and that is sort of my Kickstarter
into banner data BAM and from there I will just keep going
until I can’t think of anything that’s relevant to what I’m wanting to write or
anything that’s funny because anything that’s funny just goes down on the piece
of paper because more often than not I need some comic relief in apartment I’m
writing because emotional sad white boy tends to lean back
motion was that white boy material that’s not always what I’m going for
so I need the comedy okay cool so we’re just gonna start writing you set a time
limit here it’s a writing montage just use the phrase orgasmic luxury I’ve
done a bit of a mind dumb yep what is next let me have a look it’s
scrap the numbers if you have numbers I don’t ascribe to whatever and give
your lines of the voice check treatment until they sit in an order you’re happy
with a boy Jack treatment for anyone unfamiliar with postmodern theatre which
yeah we check is a play that no one really knows the right order to there
there are some theories as to the right way but it’s never been confirmed it I
believe it was a play that was found after the author had died and it just
gets put on in random orders so whenever I go right let’s poem I take all of my
lines that I’ve written and go okay do they sound better in this order right of
this order or is it this order or is it this order and then eventually I’ll get
to step 16 which is go back to the original order because your first guess
is normally pretty good so what you would then do is separate all of them I
if you wanted to actually just pop them up and then to put them in different
orders and then it becomes a seeing which way with your delivery with your
poetry voice however that comes out what makes the most sense for you to say in
an order and so saying it out loud for you it’s a very important yes you’re
gonna find ones that just don’t fit and those are either they need to be edited
or they just need to be scrapped do you find yourself adding new stuff in rarely
come on please will you read us your list poem on list poems certainly will
write this poem on list poems one come up with your title to write a first line
that has no relevance to the title three write three more lines before realizing
you’ve gone way off topic and need to start
again one think of the trajectory is this a poem that needs a story or can
you get away with line splurges to consider smaller sentences three ignore
smaller sentences they serve only to break up the tension after a
particularly chunky paragraph with stanza and you are a better poet than
cheap laughs for a dinner cheap laughs five towards the middle of the poem you
might find yourself running out of steam this is fine now is the time to find a
catchy hook line and run with it six write something edgy seven write
something sensational eight write something that appeases to the poetry
upper classes so that they think you put thought into this poem knowing like
something your mom would be proud of ten write something no parent should ever
hear their child say and take pride in putting those two lines next to each
other 11 that’s enough of the hook by now you should be back on track and
remembering why you wrote or started writing this poem twelve build towards a
climax thirteen start using longer and well-structured Stander’s as you begin
to explain now what you should have explained from the start fourteen keep
ramming the message home there is no more time for metaphor be blunt be
explicit be aware that once again you’ve gone off topic and need to rewrite the
step fourteen fuck it that will do fifteen scrap the numbers give your
lines the voice check treatment until they sit in an order you are happy with
sixteen go back to the original order your first guess is normally pretty good
seventeen read out the unedited versions are open mikes get called a-list poet
panic whenever anyone asks you about lists poems 18 start writing haikus no
one wants a haiku vid that would be boring 19 I told you there’d be
something about that place so what did you think of that one leave your list
poem in the comments below I would love more instructional things or like um I
was at a Writing Workshop with jasmine GaN desi and she wrote
are like a packing list so do a list of things you would need to pack if you
were going on an adventure yeah like that one was good so yeah like
leave your list poems below if you know a good example of a list poem link that
in the comments below make sure you subscribe and like this video and share
it with anyone you think would like it do all of the YouTube things and I’ll
see you next week for another video thanks very much bye bye

3 thoughts on “How to Write a List Poem with Callum Wensley

  1. Great video! Also, I am delighted to find out that Callum is a left-hander! Yay!

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