Take the idiom literally! Or play with where its literal and figurative meanings intersect. Or disagree with it, especially if it’s a declarative phrase--your first line for Let Sleeping Dogs Lie could be, "Or don't." Use imagery that connects to the origin or meaning of the idiom.  Be funny and ironic or be dead serious.  Be whatever!  GO!

For example:

Butterflies in my stomach: The idiom means to be nervous, and can also refer to the feeling one gets when the object of your huge crush comes near. Its origins are unclear, though it probably comes from just a description of a “fluttering” feeling.  For the poem, take the idiom literally.  Write about the actual butterflies in your stomach.  How did they get there?  Do you regret swallowing so many?  Did someone tell you it was an antidote to love? Should you use images that conjure up flight, or guts?

Hook, line and sinker:  The idiom means to be fooled completely.  The origin refers to a fish that swallows the bait so completely it also swallows the fishing hook, the fishing line, and the weight /sinker.  You could write about a time you were lied to, or write a short “how to” guide on the art of lying well.  You could write a poem in three parts that about falling in love, how it can make a fool out of you.  You could easily use water imagery for this one!


Face the music: The idiom means to accept the unpleasant consequences of your actions.  There’s some debate as to its origins; one theory suggests it comes from the theatre, where nervous actors must literally face the music (the orchestral pit) when the curtain goes up. Others think that the origin is military and based on the drumming out ceremony that accompanied dishonorable discharge. There’s so many ways you could go with this one!  You could subtitle it “A Post-Breakup Playlist” and write a list poem of appropriate song titles.  You could write it to someone who has wronged you, and imagine that parts of your body start transforming into angry music genres.  (My heart a punk anthem, my hair all death metal…)  Or you could imagine you are in hell, literally, and hell is listening to your least favorite kind of music for an eternity; how do you cope? You know, using common items found in hell?

Other idioms you could use:

Look Before You Leap

Break the Ice

Cat Got your Tongue

Catch More Flies With Honey

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Light at the End of the Tunnel

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

On Cloud Nine

Out on a Limb

Pass the Buck

Rings a Bell

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day



2018 shows and workshops announced in January.

Happy holidays!