Prompt #20: Memory

Prompt #20: Memory

In The Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit, 1995

41VZSMP01XL__SL500_AA300_“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.


Prompt #19: I What?

Prompt # 19: I What?

Today’s prompt comes from The Writer’s Idea Book, page 48:

“Mona Simpson begins her story ‘Lawns’ with the sentence ‘I Steal.’  Begin a … poem … with the line ‘I ________.’ Push forward from there.  If you can think of one action that speaks to who you are, what would it be?  …  Try this experiment a few times, using different actions.”

Prompt #17: Water

Prompt #17: Water

imagesCAS4FNBPI can’t explain my fascination with water.  It appears in many of my poems from Sand River (note the title) and many of the cities I’ve called home have been next to large bodies of water.

Recently I purchased a yoga video by Shiva Rea.  She believes that since our bodies are primarily made up of water, this liquid inherently influences our very spirits.  Water also often spiritually represents baptism and rebirth in many poems.  Write a poem that explores water ways in your life.


Prompt # 15: Character as Poem

From Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems 2002

Prompt #15: Character as Poem

Take the time to describe someone, either from memory or someone you currently know.  Avoid sentimentality–this is not an Ode or an homage, so describe without cheese.  Instrument of Choice describes a lonely girl with both humor and a biting cruelty.

Instrument of Choice by Robert Phillips (56)

She was a girl
no one ever chose
for teams or clubs,
dances or dates,

so she chose the instrument
no one else wanted:
the tuba. Big as herself,
heavy as her heart.

Its golden tubes
and coils encircled her
like a lover’s embrace.
Its body pressed on hers.

Into its mouthpiece she blew
Life, its deep-throated
Oompahs, oompahs sounding,
Almost, like mating cries.