Spicynodes : Eavesdropping
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Pre-Writing Lesson: Eavesdropping

Reading a node poem can be like sitting alone in a crowded room and letting your ears drift from conversation to conversation. If one conversation isn’t stimulating, you can easily turn your attention to another. This assignment helps your students generate additional material, and can assist them in making surprising artistic leaps as they approach the actual node-writing period.

Required Time

~45 minutes outside of class


A writing utensil, a flat surface and one “Worksheet: Neuroscience & Synaptic Syllogisms” per student.

Writing Task List

  1. Distribute one worksheet to each student.
  2. After each student receives a copy of the worksheet, explain that this is an eavesdropping activity, but the title of the worksheet has been changed so as to hide the intent of the activity and protect each student’s identity as a poet (poets are dangerous, after all).
  3. After explaining the purpose of this assignment, be sure to read aloud and reinforce the instructions at the top of the worksheet.


Worksheet: Neuroscience & Synaptic Syllogisms

Instructions: Find a seat and a flat surface in a crowded place. You may want to try a local café, the dining hall, a bus, or even a bookstore. As you sit in this crowded place, fill this sheet with snippets of conversations that you overhear. Here is THE RULE: You are not allowed to write more than two sentences per conversation before moving on to another conversation. You can, of course, return to conversations upon which you have already eavesdropped, but only after you write two sentences from a different conversation. Your goal: cover this sheet with ink. After eavesdropping, please bring a typed version of this sheet to class.

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