Friday, June 16, 2023

3 Little Words Can Be a Powerful Prompt: Playing with Metaphor Dice

Hi, all! Today I'm wrapping up our series on the subject of Writing Prompts, which April kicked off in this post two months ago. It's been interesting to read the varied responses to the topic from the other TeachingAuthors and some of our followers. Personally, I love prompts, especially because they often take me to unexpected places. At the end of this post, I share a poem inspired by three little words, courtesy of Metaphor Dice.

First, though, I'm pleased to announce that those same three words also inspired a poem that will appear in Poetry by Chance: An Anthology of Poems Powered by Metaphor Dice edited by Taylor Mali (Button Poetry). The book will be released in less than four weeks, on July 11, 2023. And I'm thrilled to say that we'll be offering a giveaway of the book next month, so stay tuned!

I had never heard of Metaphor Dice until reading about them in a post on Heidi Mordhorst's blog. Metaphor Dice were invented by poet and teacher Taylor Mali, who edited the anthology. The official Metaphor Dice website describes them as "The writing tool that plays like a game!" The dice come in three colors and have words printed on them. The words on the red dice are concepts. The white dice contain adjectives, and the blue ones, objects. To play the game, you roll three dice--one of each color--and then use the words to form a metaphor. If you like, you can then expand the metaphor into a poem. If you're not a poet, you might try incorporating the metaphor into an essay or story.

Heidi's post included a link to the Golden Dice contest for Metaphor Dice-inspired poems. (The contest ended April 30, 2022.). Winning poems would then be published in Poetry by Chance.

I couldn't resist trying my hand at using the dice. But crafting a satisfactory poem from the metaphors I came up with proved more challenging than I expected. Here are the three words that finally gave me the inspiration I needed:


And here's a draft of one of the poems these words inspired:

            Forget and Forgive

    In the past, I fought against the notion
    that forgetting might be a gentle blessing
    by memorizing my mistakes for quicker recall.

    Now, I’ve come to see that forgetfulness
    can be a way to wipe the slate clean,
    and finally forgive myself. 

 © Draft 2022 Carmela A. Martino. All rights reserved. 

I can't share the poem that made it into Poetry by Chance just yet, but I can tell you that I'm honored to have my work included in the anthology. As it turns out, my poem follows one of two by Heidi Mordhorst! 

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell
I look forward to saying more about the anthology in next month's giveaway post. Meanwhile, be sure to check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup hosted by Michelle Kogan.  



Linda Mitchell said...

Neat! I love poetry dice. They are so fun...and productive. Congrats on a poem publication. That's wonderful. Can't wait to see it in print.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Linda!

Bobbi Miller said...

What a lovely, lovely poem -- even if it is a draft!! And hearty congratulations on its publication! Bobbi

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Bobbi. But this isn't the poem that will appear in the anthology. I wrote a different one inspired by the same three words.

Carol Varsalona said...

Congratulations on having your poem in Taylor Mali's new book. He is a fabulous presenter who I heard at NCTE one year and the following year I spoke to him about his metaphor dice. I did buy a set and really enjoy it. You are right that it is not easy to create a poem from 3 words but you created a short inspirational poem. Have a great weekend, Carmela.

Michelle Kogan said...

Congrats on your poems publication Carmela, I look forward to reading it! I have a set of metaphor dice too, they're a fun challenge. Your metaphor line fits in seamlessly, thanks!

Patricia Franz said...

I want Metaphor Dice! What a great exercise in expanding the brain. And your Forget and Forgive is lovely. Congrats on the publication. Will look forward to reading it.

Tabatha said...

Congrats, Carmela!
Yay for forgiving ourselves :) I like "memorizing my mistakes for quicker recall" -- ouch, yes!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela ~ Thanks for sharing your draft. I love "forgetfulness can be a way to wipe the slate clean,and finally forgive myself."

I just came upon this quote by Lewis B.Smedes: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."

I'm excited to learn about Metaphor Dice! I just read a wonderful middle grade novel that is full of stunning spot-on metaphors. When I finished, I thought, I want Metaphor Lessons. Maybe these dice are a start!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Patricia! Looks like a set of Metaphor Dice may be included in our book giveaway. Stay tuned!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Tabatha!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, April. I recently saw that same quote. I hope you give Metaphor Dice a try!