A page from the "Poetry through the Ages" exhibit...

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Taste the excitement.

Using the technology of SpicyNodes as a launching point, your poem becomes a series of interactive levels rather than lines and stanzas. Node poems enable you to write lines within lines while extracting every possible direction an image, idea, or emotion can go. Readers can view the nodemap and cross-reference aspects of your poem to inform or clarify their own lives – or to simply have an exciting reading experience!

First things first.

Begin by signing up for a free SpicyNodes community membership. It might also be helpful to review Joe Romano’s recipe for writing node poetry.

Form your approach.

Node poets must approach each line multi-dimensionally, always thinking about the various branches readers will explore. Before you begin brainstorming your node poem, check out the examples to see strategies that poets have already experimented with. Then, find the approach that fits your flair for poetry.

Care to translate traditional forms into a nodal approach?

When working with restrained language, node poems can create fascinating results. For instance, re-imagine Shakespeare’s famous Sonnet 18:

Central Node: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

First node option: Thou art more lovely, and more temperate;

Second node option: Thou art too frigid for I to question it;

Node poems can enhance work by creating a duality of thought, all the while working with rhyme to connect the opposing lines. If this suits your style for poetry, explore the various forms explained throughout Poetry Through the Ages, and find ones that are perfect for nodes. You can even use a famous poem as a seedling for a new poem–freshen the piece and pull it into the digital age!

Need more freedom in your work?

Try experimenting with the various methods to shape sentences into node form, as outlined in the recipes or in the SpicyNodes Teacher’s Guide. After all, a sentence can start one way but then spin off into several different directions. Short lines work best for the visual representation of node poems, so find openings in grammar where the phrase can spin away into a different direction.

No matter your choice, start where any great poem begins–put pen to paper. Draft out your first line and then sketch three or four options for the next line. Keep going until you have multiple directions for your readers to lose themselves in.