Last week on his blog Surroundings, Rob Mackenzie made an intriguing post linking to the Guardian poetry workshop, and he's since been posting some really excellent poems starting with first lines by WS Graham, which are well worth checking out. Ben Wilkinson has been in on the act too - again well worth a read.
It's all been a bit busy this week, so I've had no chance to keep up with the poem a day schedule Rob suggested, but in free moments I have tried a few of the first lines for size. The first, "Imagine a forest...", all got a bit tangled and confused, and although I might salvage something from it at a later date, it's probably best forgotten for now. But the other two I've had a go at, "Just for the sake of recovering..." and "I called today, Peter, and you were away..." have worked out well. Rob's right that this kind of exercise can send you off in directions that you might not otherwise consider. The first of those two gave me a way into a poem I've been trying to write for the last year, and the second ended up taking additional inspiration from Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen too. I'll work my way through the others, over the next few weeks - it's always good to try something different.