NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt

April 2, 2011

Pretty yellow leavesAlthough I’d not thought much about it in advance, I decided to participate in National Poetry Writing Month this year. Maureen Thorsen quoted a writing prompt I created that she found via Mary Biddinger. We’re all one cozy family here in the Poetry Blogosphere.

Writing Prompt

If your personal well of inspiration seems dry, never fear. I will be posting poetry prompts here from time to time. Here’s a five step prompt to help get you started, via Mary Biddinger by way of Deborah Ager:

1. Use a color as your title.
2. Write against what people associate with that color. If your color is yellow, write a sad poem. If your color is blue, write a cheery poem.
3. Invoke the name of a poet they way you’d invoke your own name in a ghazal.
4. Take a look at the Wikipedia page on poetic forms and choose a form. Write the poem in that form.
5. Use a form of water in your poem– ice, drop, drip, drizzle, mist, etc.

I’m on a high after completing a poem this past week. After a busy month full of various life events—that meant little poetry writing—I was asked to read a poem at a funeral for a person in a family I consider my second family. I’ve known this family for about thirty years and adore them all. I glanced through my book, Midnight Voices, and none of the poems said what I wanted to say at this funeral. Then, I turned to Hopkins and pondered Dylan Thomas even though I knew the request was to hear my words. As great as Thomas and Hopkins are and may be, they have not known this family for thirty years. Off I went to my studio—certain I could not and did not know how to write a poem—and out I came with a draft of something that was exactly how I want to be writing in the future. The future became the now.

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