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Exercises to Stir Your Voice | Exercise 2


A photo of hand holding a black and gold pen. There is a piece of paper on a desk under the hand, and a steaming cup on a saucer in the background.

Grab a pen & paper and try the exercises below.

All exercises are adapted from Finding What You Didn't Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making, by John Fox (Founder and President of The Institute for Poetic Medicine).


Exercise 1 can be found here.


Exercise 2: Discovering Your Roots

Listen to a variety of musical pieces and styles as you explore and write about the range of your feelings evoked by that music.

Music can help evoke your feelings at the roots.

Listen to a variety of musical pieces and styles as you explore and write about the range of your feelings evoked by that music. What images arise for you in listening? Let your feeling response to the music guide your images and words. Trust as you listen what reveals itself to you through the music. Settle into the sounds and rhythm and flow with them.

Don't write for a while. Take your time to "get into flow" as a very wise artist and teacher of mine suggests. Or, as she said just a moment later, “Wait a minute. I am the flow!” Be that.

What does the music invite in you? Is it only your sense of sound that is being stimulated or is other senses awakened as the music flows into and through you?

If you could be an instrument, what would you be? Does the music transport you to a different place or time? What kind of landscape and season is within or around you? What elements and emotions are felt?

Please choose music you would like to experiment with; here is a list of music to inspire you:

  • Bach: Concerto in F, for oboe, strings and continuo

  • John Rainer: Songs of the Native Indian Flute

  • Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata

  • Coltrane: A Love Supreme

  • Vaughan Williams: Lark Ascending

  • Kelly Yost: Piano Reflections

  • Jacqueline DePré: Dvorák Cello Concerto

  • The Beatles, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Jim Brickman, Sarah McLaughlin, Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall, Ravi Shankar and many others

Once you've finished your writing, consider singing your poem out loud in the shower tomorrow morning! It could be sweet music to your ears.


Do not commit your poems

to pages alone. Sing them,

I pray you.

~ Virgil


Exercise 3 can be found here.

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