Prompt #20: Memory
In The Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit, 1995
“Poems are often generated by memories that haunt us—memories that suddenly return out of the blue, or memories that are familiar companions and part of the fabric of our lives—memories that are too precious and sweet not to be recorded, or that are so painful they cry out to be exorcised. … Many inexperienced poets also imagine that the language of poetry must be ultra-romantic and theatrical, but a poetry which is too richly embellished with hyperventilated language, inflated sentiments, and abstruse verbiage is in grave danger of sounding artificial or just plain foolish.” (8-10)
Go back in time and describe a memory. Similar to earlier encouragement, avoid sentimentality. Don’t try to give meaning to the event or explain WHY something occurred. Concentrate instead on what happened, walking yourself honestly through the memory, avoiding over embellishment or exaggeration.