Well, here's the first prompt for 2009. I hope you enjoy this and the ones to come during the rest of the year, and enjoy exploring what you want to say, or need to say, or even discover what you never thought you could or would say!
It might be useful if you write in response to each of these instructions before scrolling down to read the poem the exercise is inspired by. That way you'll have your own, imaginative draft to work with during your editing processes.
You don't have to restrict yourself to concrete images, but they will help a reader 'feel' the scenes you create, so think about including things you can see, touch, hear, taste, smell, as well as making direct statements. But most of all, let your imagination run riot.
1. Imagine you are standing in the middle of emptinesss.
2. Fill it with something so it is no longer empty.
3. Now start walking and see what you filled the emptiness with everywhere else you go.
4. Keep walking and seeing it around you in different locations.
5. How long will you keep on walking and seeing it?
6. You will find something else, something that creates a vivid contrast - describe it.
Here's a poem by Kelly Cherry:
Song of the Wonderful Surprise
Start with the fact of space; fill it up
with snow. There will be snow in the sky,
snow on the ground, snow in the mysterious courtyards.
You taste snow's tang, smell snow, feel snow on your face.
If you walk forever, you will not come to a place with no snow,
but one day, looking around, you will find
a green apple hanging from a spray of snow.
from God's Loud Hand
Louisiana State University, 1993
Write well. I look forward to reading your poems.