Writing Exercise – The List Poem

by | June 6, 2016 | Writing Exercise | 7 comments

 By Ashley Lister

One of my favourite poetic standbys is the
list poem. Because, in real life, I’m a serial list-writer, I find it easy to
slip into the mindset of writing lists. Maybe it’s something to do with having the name ‘Lister’?

This is from a poem I wrote a few years
back entitled ‘A List of Things I Think About During WOFT Meetings’. It will be
noted that the word WOFT is an acronym for Waste Of F*****g Time.

I muted my mobile?

my mouth fixed in a smile?

I slyly check my watch?

I scratch my itchy crotch?

I count the ceiling tiles?

all this sitting give me piles?

I’ve written mine rhyming couplets,
although that’s just personal preference. These can work in blank verse or with
a rhyming structure behind them. What sort of lists would be appropriate for an
erotic poem? How about a list of things I think about whilst blindfolded? What
about a list of things I think about when you’re away? Or  list of things I should have said? This is
how ‘A List of Things I Think About During WOFT Meetings’ continues:

The chair’s
a witless pseud pretender

brings a typo-plagued agenda

followed by his office flunkies

troop of trite arse-kissing monkeys

covens then collude

fat ones focus on free food

everyone gets their free drink

here to eat and chat – not think

I stare at my blank notepad

tell myself it’s not that bad

letting my self-esteem diminish

wond’ring: “When will this crap finish?”

I know that woman’s name?

I check my watch again?

long ago did this shit start?

long can I hold in this fart?

As always, I look forward to seeing your
poems in the comments box below.

Ashley Lister

Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his second title published under his own name: Swingers: Female Confidential by Ashley Lister (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753513439) Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    And I wonder how long you can keep up these couplets!

  2. Ashley Lister

    I think that poem goes on for a couple of pages 😉

  3. Lisabet Sarai

    10 June 2016

    Best Laid Plans
    By Lisabet Sarai

    A book of nudes,
    a tube of lube,
    and Thou,
    beside me writhing
    on the waterbed;
    coiled rope to bind
    your hands above
    your head;
    tooled leather cuffs
    to hold your thighs agape;
    a springy crop
    to paint your ivory flesh
    a vivid red; a
    roll of bondage tape
    for quick improvisation.

    Every top
    will need a blindfold
    and well-whetted knife
    to slice through bonds
    and save his darling's life
    or draw her blood;
    perhaps I'll add
    a brand
    to set my mark
    upon your ass
    in fire:
    a sadist's dream,
    the acme of desire.

    By searing wax
    your palest flesh
    is kissed;
    a ginger butt plug's
    burning bulk intrudes…
    So many implements!
    I need a list
    to plot out
    our erotic interludes.

    • Ashley Lister

      This one works really well. There are so many cheeky rhymes in the text, all of which is balanced against a generous list that leaves little to the imagination. Lovely work x

    • Lisabet Sarai

      "Cheeky"! That is the perfect description for this poem. In more ways than one! Thanks, Ash!

  4. Lisabet Sarai

    ALSO…. I realize that one of my favorite poems from my youth is also a List Poem. I remember learning this for "recitation" in my junior high English class. (I suspect they don't do this in schools any more. What a pity!)

    By Christopher Morley

    WHY is it that the poet tells
    So little of the sense of smell?
    These are the odors I love well:

    The smell of coffee freshly ground;
    Or rich plum pudding, holly crowned;
    Or onions fried and deeply browned.

    The fragrance of a fumy pipe;
    The smell of apples, newly ripe;
    And printer's ink on leaden type.

    Woods by moonlight in September
    Breathe most sweet, and I remember
    Many a smoky camp-fire ember.

    Camphor, turpentine, and tea,
    The balsam of a Christmas tree,
    These are whiffs of gramarye. . .
    A ship smells best of all to me!

    • Ashley Lister

      I adore Christopher Morley's work. There is so much wisdom in this piece, and it's all done with rhyme and rhythm. Thanks for reminding me of an old favourite.

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