Deranging and Making Strange: Anagrams

Exercises designed to derange, rearrange, make strange language in ways that delight, distract, and transform.

One: A Feral Poem Toll

You want to write about running injuries but it feels like even mentioning words like patellar femoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee) might conjure it into existence.

Two: Hot Pot Eyes

Your right knee hurts and is stiff. Then your right leg forgets how to walk. You go to the doctor, get an x-ray, and find out you have an osteophyte or bone spur on your kneecap. It could be arthritis or something else. The doctor and physical therapist are not sure.

Three: Arise, Great Slight!

A few days after your kneecap slips out of its groove, you discover, while sitting on the ground with your legs extended that you can easily lift your left leg, but not your right one. You will it to move but it won’t, not even an inch off of the ground. You are unable to do a straight leg raise.

You need to make these words less scary, less able to do harm.

Take the scary word or phrase and do one of the following:

Option One || Write it in large larger across the top of a page

Write it in large letters across the top of a page. Stare at it, then create a new phrase out of the letters that you write below the original phrase. As you use a letter, cross it out on the original. Keep repeating until you have a phrase that you like or the original phrase has lost its negative meaning.

Option Two || Type it in a big font at the top of a word document

Type it in a big font across the top of a word document. Copy and paste it 8-10 times below the original, leaving space after each one. Stare at it, then create a new phrase out of the letters that you type below the original phrase. As you use a letter, delete it from the original. Repeat until you run out of original phrases or you feel better.

Option Three || Write each letter on a square of paper

Cut up a piece of paper into little squares. Write each letter of the phrase on one of the squares of paper. Spread the letters out on a table or the floor. Play around with arranging the letters into a new phrase. Repeat until you find your favorite phrase.

note: Do not use a random anagram generator. The slow and difficult process of trying to make new sense (or nonsense) out of these letters is the main point of this exercise. The strange and surprising phrases you create are just a bonus.


Patellar Femoral
  • For All Leap To Me
  • Melt A Paler Foot 
  • Alter All of Poem
  • Mortal Foe Lapel
  • Ol’ Temporal Leaf
  • O Moral Leap Felt!
  • Tell of Moral Pea
  • A Feral Poem Toll
  • Trope of All Male 
  • Fall to Leap More
  • Poor Tall Female
  • Fall Poem or Tale
  • Tell a Floor Map
  • Late Morale Flop
  • Poet, Leaf, or Mall
Osteophyte
  • O, the pest, yo
  • yo, the poets
  • oh, to set type!
  • hot eye post
  • they step too
  • oh, toes type?
  • set too hype
  • he poots yet
  • the soy pet
  • O testy hope!
  • hot pot eyes
Straight Let Raise
  • Rise, starlight age!
  • Arise, great slight!
  • I light a grass tree.
  • I right a glass tree.
  • I get light as tears.
  • Sigh, art’s great lie!