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Writing and Healing Idea #11: A Scavenger Hunt

Posted on Oct 24, 2006 by

The goal of this scavenger hunt is simple: to hunt for images.

But what’s an image? Here’s one way to think about it: in the early part of the twentieth century there was a group of poets in England, France and America who called themselves imagists. Ezra Pound was one such poet. Also, William Carlos Williams, who once said, “No ideas but in things.” An often-cited example of an imagist poem is a poem by Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow,” that centers around the visual image of a red wheelbarrow glistening with rain water next to some white chickens.

The imagists often concentrated primarily on visual images, but an image does not have to be limited to the sense of sight. An image can be more broadly defined as a word or group of words that appeals to one or more of the senses. An image is tangible. It’s a word you can see or hear or taste or touch or smell. A red wheelbarrow. Cinnamon coffeecake. Fresh orange juice. Hot black coffee. A yellow goldfinch. A cricket. A pumpkin. An acorn squash. Geese.

The goal then of this particular scavenger hunt is to hunt for images—or things that appeal to your senses. Images that strike you. That surprise you. That please you. Images you want to remember. Or, simply, images you like.

In your hunt, feel free to look through books of poetry, novels, children’s books, seed catalogues, field guides, magazines, any printed material including your own written material in the form of journals or pages. If you’ve ever written down any of your dreams, these can be an excellent source of images. Your memory can also be a source of images. Songs. Movies. Overheard conversation. The possibilities are endless. Make a list of images that appeal to you. Save the list.