1) Pick a word that interests you.
2) Make a list of words that sound like they should be connected to this word etymologically, using homophones, assonance and alliteration, anagrams, and pararhyme.
Let association carry you away to words that may have no connection at all to your word.
3) Do the same for a second, related word.
4) Look up your word in the AHDIWR. First find it in the index, then go to the entry for your root.
5) From the entry for your root, copy down any language from the etymology that interests you, but especially the words that appear in all caps, which are words deriving from the same root.
6) Write a poem titled “Self Portrait As X” (Where X is the word you have chosen) using as much of this language (the real and the fake cognates) as possible.
Write as an “I” that both is and isn’t you. It’s language speaking through you. Try incorporating the following phrases if they help kickstart things: “I always,” “I never,” “you might say I,” “I want,” “I hate,” “In my earliest memory I,” and variations on that theme.
Feel free to incorporate any material from Kevin McLellan’s prompt you find useful.
Example of how to generate word lists for your poem:
Stork: store, sore, torque, cork, ark, rots, sort, court, toque, roast, coast, coaster
Related word: Bird, bored, bared, burr, bid, drab, drib, bride, dire, rider, rider, rid, id, rib, ribbed, baby
Words sharing root ster-1: stare, stark, starch, stern, stereo, cholesterol, strut, startle, startle, starve, torpedo, torpid, torpor
Basically, pick a word. Write down its storks, related words, words sharing root. Use all those words as many you can to write a Poem (70 words).