Metaphor Dice

Metaphors are really just equations between big ideas and smaller things with perhaps an adjective added to one side as a variable. Think of Mary Oliver’s beloved phrase “the soft animal of your body” from “Wild Geese” or W. B. Yeats’s “rag and bone shop of the heart” from “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” and you can see a similar formula at work. Every human culture uses metaphor to talk about and help make sense of the complexities of our own lives. In this weekly drop-in class, poets of all levels will use Taylor Mali’s metaphor dice to embark on an exploration of the playful nature of figurative language. We’ll start each class with an examination of a metaphor from a well-known poem, discussing how it works and why the poet might have chosen it. The rest of the workshop will be generative and playful, using rolls of the dice as prompts for short explorations of how the metaphors rolled—”my father is a broken mirror,” “poetry is no petty songbird,” “love is a handed-down frailty,” etc.—can be artfully applied to our own lives.” Sharing will be encouraged but optional. (Note that drop-in classes are not a forum for critique of work; students looking for critique should register for multi-week workshops.)

Drop-In Details


  • Teacher: Taylor Mali
  • Beginning date: Aug 30, 2022
  • Time: Tuesdays, 5:00–6:00 pm
  • Location: 144 Montague St
  • Cost: $23 in advance / $25 at the door
    $20 for members anytime

Click Register to check the class schedule on Eventbrite—classes are sometimes canceled due to teacher unavailability. Save by becoming a member or registering in advance on Eventbrite.

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali is a a spoken word poet, teacher advocate and game designer. A four-time National Poetry Slam champion and one of the original poets on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, he is the author of six books of poetry, including Late Father & Other Poems, and a book of essays on teaching. He is the founding curator of the Page Meets Stage reading series at the Bowery Poetry Club and the inventor of Metaphor Dice, a game that helps writers think more figuratively. He lives in Brooklyn.