Writing Challenge: In One Word Poem

I only recently read April Halprin Wayland’s post about writing an “In One Word” poem.  If you write poetry, please don’t be offended when I refer to this as a fun challenge.  I’m not belittling poetry!   But since I don’t write it for sale, it is fun writing.  It is something I do for the pleasure of creation.  There’s no pressure to sell.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way on to the “In One Word” poem.  And I have to admit that I initially misunderstood the challenge.  I thought you had to write a poem based on a single word with the word at the end of each line meaning the same thing as your word.  While you could do that, it would be something else.

In this challenge, first you pick a word.  It can be something that irritates you, inspires you or that you are curious about.  The longer the word is the better.  Once you have chosen your word, for example MISUNDERSTOOD, you write out all the words that can be made from those letters.  So for misunderstood, I would include:

  • under
  • stood
  • mist
  • mud
  • mood
  • stun
  • sun
  • son
  • rod
  • rode
  • room

I was fairly impressed with this list until I looked up “misunderstood” on Word Maker.  Apparently you can make 1701 words from the letters found in “misunderstood.”  Obviously, I missed “undestood” which I might want to use.  But I also missed “urine.”  I really don’t see myself needing that one.

You can write your poem line by line.

Or you can do what Wayland suggests and write it in a single paragraph as a prose poem and then add your line breaks.

Here is my first attempt at an “In One Word Poem.”

He stood before the crowd hoping to stun.  His words flowed the sounds rising and falling until he stopped. The mood had grown sour.  How could they have misunderstood?

Formatting it with the line breaks, it woudl be:


He stood
before the crowd hoping to stun.
His words flowed, the sounds
rising and falling until he stopped. The mood
had grown sour.
How could they have misunderstood?

I’m not going to claim brilliance but someone is shooting off enormous fireworks.  Not the bright sparkly kind.  Just boom, Boom, BOOM.

Hmm.  Maybe I should do one with the word “fireworks.”  After all, I’d have 170 words to work with.



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