Back to All Events

CU Poetry at the Urbana Free Library - Verse First Edition

  • urbana free library - downstairs conference room 201 S Race St Urbana, IL, 61801 United States (map)

The Verse First Edition - 

The Golden Shovel - We have done this form once before but it seems fun and gets us reading more poetry as well. The rules are taken from the poetic asides blog

Here are the rules for the Golden Shovel:

Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.

Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem.

Keep the end words in order.

Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).

The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

If it’s still kind of abstract, read these two poems to see how Terrance Hayes used a Gwendolyn Brooks poem to write the first golden shovel:

We Real Cool, by Gwendolyn Brooks (original poem)

The Golden Shovel, by Terrance Hayes (golden shovel poem)

As you can see, the original golden shovel takes more than a line from the poem. In fact, it pulls every word from the Brooks poem, and it does it twice.

This form is sort of in the tradition of the cento and erasure, but it offers a lot more room for creativity than other found poetry.

So let's all try a golden shovel poem this week but if not feel free to bring in your own work as well as. Be sure to bring in 8-10 copies of your work to share with everyone.

Thanks, hope to see everyone there!


The Urbana Free Library allows us one free night a month to use their conference room.