If you’re just recently arriving at this space, welcome! This blog has been part of my writing routine since the fall of 2010 when I left academia for a spell to travel abroad and work independently as an editor/freelancer. Over the years, it’s been a place to write and publish book reviews, commentary (read: snark), author interviews, literary happenings (and other happenings), thoughts on the publishing industry, and – most often – as a work space for drafting new essays and poems. Since 2011, I’ve been following (off and on) the poetry writing prompts offered by Poets & Writers’ Magazine called The Time is Now. In its current iteration, this space is being used solely for that purpose. Comments are always welcome as are your own attempts at doing this thing we call writing.
No, no, don’t get too excited. There’s no poem attached to this blog post. But it’s been a minute since I’ve posted, and I didn’t want you all out there waiting and wondering if I’d fallen off the face of the earth, or had my typing fingers crushed in some weird baking accident, or perhaps gotten wrapped up in some cult that believes poetry should only ever be recited aloud and from the top of a mountain (or, at the very least, a small hill). Nothing quite so interesting has occurred.
However. I did acquire a new superpower that’s going to allow me to save the world from ignorance and hate (one high school English teacher at a time).
“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?
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.
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?
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?
If you’re thinking this is going to be a sweet little poem about childhood and crayons, you’ve forgotten about just how powerful word association can be. Here’s the Poets & Writers’ prompt for last week: Continue reading
This time last year, when I made the, what some might call “radical,” decision to leave my lucrative, work-from-home, Assistant Professor of English position at Ashford University to take a lectureship offering half of my Ashford salary and requiring a move to deeply conservative Texas, I had high hopes for what that decision would mean. I’d been with Ashford for four years, and for four years, I’d been swept up into the most corporate, insane, fast paced, high pressure gig I’d ever experienced in my career.
And I hadn’t written a thing. Not. One. Thing. Continue reading
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:
As Matthew McConaughey might say….
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I’m just two poems away from being caught up with Poets & Writers’ weekly series, The Time is Now. Here’s the prompt from March 21: