Writing groups of related poems (abridged, p. 160-3)
by Maggie Anderson
Write a group of poems related to each other in form, in content, or both. Start by writing a brief proposal of what you intend to do in advance and then stick with it. The number of poems you write can vary. (5-12)
Because this exercise requires that you work out your concerns through more than one poem, it widens the pallet. When your usual poetic strategies have been used up, you may find that the three or four poems you still have to write will surprise you as they come out of boredom, sheer tenacity, nerve, or some hidden pocket in the imagination that you didn't even know you had.
A few good lines or gestures can be a rather thin repertoire. Writing a group of related poems asks that you think, consciously and in advance, about what you are "importantly" concerned with in your poems, not just line by line or poem by poem, but over the whole of your work. It asks that you seriously consider your work as a continuing project that engages you, with the fullest range of options, over a period of time.