Today I did my poem for the Contemporary Verse 2 2-day poem contest. They pick ten fairly tough words and ask that you put them all in your poem. The rules are exacting–no plurals or tense changes, no jamming them in the title, no playing fast and loose with definitions and no shifting to proper nouns. For example, you can’t name someone Precipice even if you do know one in real life. 48 line max, not including stanza breaks.
I think it turned out well. I had to look up one word, something I haven’t done in decades. Like when writing in forms that have word repetition or rhymes, I found that the stress of finding a way to use these word brought out a poem that had been forming in my memory a very long time. That is the beauty of exercises. They keep the conscious mind busy with details and rules so that the subconscious can do its work unimpeded.
This was a nice challenge for poetry month, and who knows? Someone wins those prizes.