The playlist poetry challenge: "You Being Boss of the Playlist."

It just sort of happened as I was doing small, mindless tasks in the house while listening to old playlists my hubcap made when we in some wild dalliance that wasn’t legit.

The thing is: this taught me to love Bruce Springsteen…. he sort of rug-burned Bruce into my skin and I never got over it. So here’s what I did.

I made a list of all Bruce’s songs and then wrote a poem that incorporated the titles on our old playlists. And then fiddled like a fresh-rain-licked fern with all the tiny pieces…

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The Playlist Poetry Challenge is so easy and fun—a perfect excuse to sit around and listen to nostalgia-inducing music on a muggy Saturday.

  1. Pick an old playlist (or just pick a favorite music artist) and make a list of song titles.

  2. Tell the song titles that you plan to use them as a word bank for a poem you will write. Don’t be sorry or apologetic. The songs want to be felt. You are doing those titles a favor.

  3. Write a poem that makes use of those titles. You can capitalize the titles (see above) to make it clear when you’re referencing the song. Alternately, you can putz around in italics. You can even use white space to draw lines in the sand between your words and what music makes of them.

  4. Title it with a name that hints at the artist or the playlist conceit.

  5. If the final result is HORRENDOUS, email it to family members who think you’re a terrible poet that is wasting their time in profit-less vocation. Make sure to preface the poem with a note saying something like: “OMG tonight I wrote this poem that was just SO INTENSE. I had to share it with you because I’m really proud of it and I hope it wins a prize. Maybe someone will read it on their talk show. Family, I think this is IT.”