Wednesday, April 04, 2007


As in quick, as in cue, as in inspire --

All these meanings come to mind as I peruse a wonderful list of writing prompts that was posted on my poetry listserv today. Among the many good prompts, the following are my favorites. Hope they help you, if you're writing a poem a day for the month of April. And if you have some prompts to add, please contribute!

1. Write a poem with an invented biography for yourself.
2. Take a piece of junk mail and black out most of the words so that what remains is a poem.
3. Write from the number six.
4. Write to your pain: "Dear Pad of My Thumb, Will you kindly stop hurting? It is very hard for me to stir a pot or write a poem when you hurt like this..." Let your pain write back to you: "Dear Lisa, if you would lay off the text messaging and playing minesweeper it would help me a lot, then you can write your poem or stir a pot...".
5. Write to your hurting country, city or community, as a variation on the theme. Take the dialogue as far as it goes, then distill the essence. See if you can arrive at a fresh insight about what ails you and yours.
6. Write a poem of at least 40 lines that is a single sentence.
7. Write about a family secret.
8. Write an apostrophe to some abstraction (e.g., "To the End of the World" or "To My Birth").
9. Take any object out of your bag or pocket or purse. Speaking in first person as the object, answer the following questions: What is your favorite thing? What are you scared of? What is your secret? What is your wish for the future?

> This one worked really well for me several times. "Ode to My Purse" and "A Pot of Humuhumunukunukuapua'a", which are in my book Femme au chapeau, resulted from this exercise. But it wasn't during NaPoWriMo.

More tomorrow.