Poetry Prompts

August 16, 2008

Dear Poetry Prompt,

Oh, how you helped me right after I received my MFA. I was adrift without a workshop, adrift without poets nearby, and in dire need of writing.

Enter you…you showed up in The Practice of Poetry. You arrived in emails from a friend on a distant coast. You arrived from my own pen and from certain esteemed poets leading Jenny Moore workshops at GWU.

How you helped me continue to write despite starting a job, despite a long commute and terrible traffic, despite no one really caring if I ever wrote another poem (except me, of course).

I feel bad for you, dear prompt, since you get made fun of in public. Few poets want to admit to using you. They toss you aside and take all the credit.

It’s not cool to mention your name, so I’m taking chances when I post this letter to you on my blog.

Thank you, Mary Biddinger, for the idea.

And, now, a prompt for dear readers.

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 our your Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry 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.


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