P&W Prompt: All Apologies

“May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade. / My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second. / My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.” Taking inspiration from Wislawa Szymborska’s “Under One Small Star,” write a poem that plays with apology or an apologetic tone. What may you have taken for granted in the past? To whom might you offer your apologies, and for what are you sorry? What are you grateful for now?

P&W Prompt: You Come to Me

I don’t usually make any real use of the titles Poets & Writers’ Magazine gives to its weekly prompts: The Time is Now; however, this week the prompt title really spoke to me.  Here’s the prompt itself:

“I was young when you came to me. / Each thing rings its turn…” begins Meena Alexander’s poem “Muse.” Write a poem of direct address to a muse—any specific object, memory, person, moment, or idea that invokes wonder and reflection. Read the rest of Alexander’s poem for inspiration derived from sensory pleasures, multiple languages, and the associations between words and images.

Continue reading

P&W Prompt: The Poetry of Science

I had to laugh out loud when I read this week’s prompt from Poets & Writers magazine:

Poetry and science combined to join forces at this year’s March for Science in Washington, D.C. Jane Hirshfield organized writing workshops and readings, and science poems by writers like Tracy K. Smith and Gary Snyder were displayed on banners. Many poets are using social media to respond quickly and powerfully to events occurring in the tumult of the political climate. Browse through newspapers or online for fresh science news—such as scientists attempting to capture the first image of a black hole—and write an urgent poem in response. What sort of emotional or philosophical significance can you draw between this scientific news and your feelings about current affairs?

Continue reading

P&W Prompt: Why Is the World So Messy?

Happy Spring, y’all!  This week’s Poets & Writers’ prompt is inspired by a truly inspiring short film project (if you have a moment, it’s worth the time to watch):

Can girls be robots? How do you make water? What does extinct mean? Children have a curiosity for the world that can often inspire them to ask difficult questions like these from filmmaker Kelly O’Brien’s five-year-old daughter Willow. In the spirit of childish inquisitiveness, write a poem entirely of questions. How might you use a child’s persona to explore your own concerns and wonder for the world?

Continue reading

P&W Prompt: Ode to Dinner

It’s hard to believe it, but this is officially my last “backlog” of exercises from Poets & Writers’ weekly prompts, The Time Is Now.  Assuming I can also write the prompt from this week over the weekend, I am officially (hallelujah!) caught up.  Now….staying caught up will be the next challenge.  Here’s hoping 😉  From March 28, here’s the last back dated prompt:

Continue reading

P&W Prompt: Poem in Pink

Moving right along, here’s the prompt from March 14:

A salt lake in Melbourne, Australia recently turned pink due to the growth of algae “in response to very high salt levels, high temperatures, sunlight, and lack of rainfall.” The phenomenon transformed the lake from its natural blue tone to an unusually bright flamingo color. Write a poem that begins by evoking the sensations of one color, and then—gradually or abruptly—turns a strikingly different color, perhaps even pink. How will you manipulate the mood, images, sounds, and rhythms of your language to reflect the color change?  [Click here to jump to the final draft]

Continue reading

P&W Prompt: Golden Shovel

Shhhhh….don’t say it too loudly, but I think I’ve actually just caught up with Poets & Writers Magazine’s weekly prompt series, The Time is Now.  Let’s hurry up and get to it before they send me an email with yet another prompt.

Ahem.  CLEARLY I wrote that several weeks ago (when I thought I was going to actually catch up) and then promptly traipsed off in the direction of spring break and forgot all about it.  Nonetheless, poetry marches on.  Here’s the prompt from March 7th:

Continue reading

P&W Prompt: Portrait Poem

I bet you thought I’d disappeared, eh?  Nah.  I just went on the-world’s-most-sucktastic-spring-break (hint: it snowed and I was laid up with a sinus infection) and got busy grading midterm papers (there’s only like a hundred of them….).  But have no fear!  I’m back on the mission of trying to get caught up with Poets & Writers Magazine’s weekly poetry prompts.  Here’s the ekphrastic exercise from the last prompt in February:

Continue reading