As an exercise you may have written a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time. Maybe something like 5 or 10 minutes. This might have been something that you did on your own, as a group, or as part of a writing exercise.
There are a number of benefits to writing a poem in a predetermined limited amount of time. They include:
Under the restrictive time conditions a poet can sometimes come up with new ideas. Since something has to be thought of quickly, a poet might think of something that they would not have otherwise.
Showing the value of un-refinement:
When a poem is written in this way, a poet may not get a chance to go over it multiple times. A poet may not get a chance to change word choice, rewrite lines, or experiment with form.
While this may seem like a negative, a poet might be surprised at the quality of their work without these things. They might find that readers respond well to something that, at least in the poet’s eyes, is unpolished. They might find that readers can’t perceive the refinement of the poem.
If this happens, it can be good for a poet. It can teach them that their work can be good even if it isn’t as good as they think it could be.
Showing that poems written in less time can still be quality poems:
Like the idea above, a poet might learn through these exercise that they don’t need to spend as much time as they thought to write a poem that they and or others think is good. They might find that they like, and others receive well, a poem that was written in five minutes as much as or more than one that took an hour. This can be a good lesson if it occurs.
Developing a sense of speed in writing poetry:
These types of exercises can be helpful in teaching a poet to write more quickly. While this may seem like the same benefit as above, the idea is different. In this case, a poet can train themselves to develop and write poetry more quickly. This can be good for a poet and might come up in a variety of situations. For example, imagine a poet was writing to someone via instant messaging. Maybe the poet had a great or humorous point to get across and thought that it would be best conveyed through a poem (this could be similar to responding to someone with a famous quote). In this case a poet would have to be quick for the effect to be there. Practicing writing quickly can help a poet to develop this skill.
Although these exercises have their benefits, they do lack in some areas. Some of them include:
A comparison to real life situations:
Although, as mentioned above, there are situations when a poet would want to write quickly, this might not usually be the case. In general circumstances a poet could spend as much time as they want on a poem. While these exercises might be useful generally speaking, they might not be useful for everyday writing situations.
The potential to build bad habits:
Although there can be benefits to writing poetry quickly and without refinement, if a poet does this too much they might develop it as a writing style. Although, again, there is value in such writing, a poet might more generally speaking be better served taking their time with their writing. If a poet did these types of exercises too much, the style could become habit for them.
The potential to spend too much time:
Although these exercises are intended to be brief, if a poet did too many of them it could use up a lot of time. For example, if a poet did 12, 5-minute exercises, they would spend an hour. This might not be something a poet considers when they start exercises like this.
Writing poems in a predetermined limited amount of time can have benefits for a poet. As long as a poet limits the exercises and does other styles of writing, they can learn for the experience.