April 30, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Tresha Haefner

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Tresha Haefner:

Reverse Attitude

  1. Pick a poem you have been struggling with for a while. What is the dominant emotion in the poem? How does the speaker of the poem feel towards the subject matter? In a word, what is their attitude towards what they see?
  2. What is the opposite attitude as the one you listed in part A? Name five things that you associate with that opposite attitude. For example, if you’re writing a poem that makes you feel sad, the opposite feeling is glad. When I’m glad about something I think of birthday balloons, ripe peaches, daffodils and cake!

Gulf of Mexico

My father liked being on a boat
in the Gulf of Mexico,
anchored near one of the oil rigs,
pulling up spade fish and red snapper
and swigging from a bottle
of Jim Beam.

Fried chicken, ham sandwiches,
burgers from Bud’s Broiler,
the bagels and lox my father brought
and who knows what else
he and the men ate with their beers.

The boat was slimy with fish
blood, the men bare-chested,
yelling out instructions
as the fish dangled from their lines.

The one time I went with him,
I was ten-years old,
and all I could think about was
would he be able to drive the car
all the way home, would he end up
falling down drunk as we walked
to the car carrying the ice-chest
full of the day’s catch.

But now, when I think back on it –
God, he musta had a good time!
I’m so glad my father had a good time.
These men were not Jewish –
his drinking buddies from AA –
they had all that gentile good-ole boy
razzmatazz, red-necks for sure
slapping their hands together
and howling at the midday sun.

My father, who never finished 8th grade,
who read Kant and Hegel and Lenin and Marx –
God, he musta had a good time!
I’m so glad my father had a good time.
Maybe it brought back the days of summer
on the lower east side,
during the Great Depression,
when he was in his early 30s,
without a job, without a home, a man
riding the rails like Jack Dempsey,
and like Dempsey, he fought
in the ring for chump change
so he could rent a room for the night.

I want my father to have a good time.
I want my father to taste the salt of this life,
to carouse with the men and spend the night
with a woman he met in a bar,
to come home with no money in his pockets,
just the matchbooks we found
from Gentillich’s Bar on Rampart Street
or the Econo Lodge Motel
a mile from the airport.
Live it up, Dad. Hook those fish,
spray that Jim Beam all over your face,
guzzle it down and stagger back
to the shed where the fish are gutted
and puke your guts out in the parking lot
and drive down the Airline Highway,
turn right on Carrollton Avenue,
past Borden’s Ice Cream Parlor,
past Jim’s Fried Chicken,
past Ping Pang Pong’s Chinese Restaurant,
then a left on Fontainebleau Drive,
then slam into the driveway of that two-story brick
colonial home you bought
selling eye-glasses to the country folk
from Houma and Gretna and Bogalusa,
then fling open the front door and charge
up the stairs to the bathroom
and slam the medicine chest cabinet
to smithereens,
to this life,
to this fishing trip
on the Gulf of Mexico
where you’re finally
and irrevocably free.

Prompt: Rewrite the poem with the opposite attitude as the one you initially had. Maybe you start with a totally different attitude, or maybe you shift your attitude half-way through the poem. Maybe you shift it only at the end. See where this leads. Try to use all of the things you listed in part B, above as you rewrite the poem.

This Prompt Appears in The Poetry Salon’s latest book, Method and Mystery: The Psychology of Teaching Creative Writing Classes + 50 Poetry Prompts to Take Your Students to Unexpected Places. You can purchase this book at www.thepoetrysalon.com in April.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 29, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Tara King

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Tara King:

Take a sheet of lined paper and number the lines down the left side.

Describe your favorite outfit on every third line (lines 1, 4, 7, 10, etc. Leave two empty lines between each line you write.)

Describe how you feel when you are looked at on next lines (2, 5, 8, 11, etc.)

On the remaining lines, copy a random entry from the dictionary (lines 3, 6, 9, 12, etc.)

You can leave the poem as is, or do some work to smooth the edges off.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 28, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Prasanna Surakanti

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Prasanna Surakanti:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee.

What is something that you can do 10,000 times? Write about how it makes you feel.

An easy one is walking. You put your foot after foot forward.

Another one. Breathing. How many of your breaths can you count. This will take you to mindful breathing.

I am hoping to find an exercise move that I can do 10000 times. Whats yours?

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 27, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Bob Zaslow

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Bob Zaslow:

Write a poem of apologies, as in Szymborska’s “Under One Small Star”:

“My apologies to chance for calling it necessity. / My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all. / Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due…”

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 26, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – D.L. Lang

This poetry writing prompt submitted by D.L. Lang:

Solve a crossword puzzle or play a game of scrabble. Then using the answers as vocabulary, write a poem.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 25, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Nancy Shiffrin

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Nancy Shiffrin:

My concept of nature was formed at Rockaway Beach after a hurricane.

How was your concept of nature formed? What natural lands or geological features attracted you as a child? Do they inhabit your dreams? Use your senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, kinaesthetic feeling to respond — perhaps as a free-write. What associations come to you?

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 24, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Maggie Westland

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Maggie Westland:

Write a poem about the weather where you are today and tell us how this makes you feel.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 23, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Michelle Angelini

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Michelle Angelini

Have you ever heard a sound and it brings back a very good memory? Something like wind chimes, taiko drums, a bird singing or gentle, rolling thunder at night? Pick a sound, then relate it in a poem to  something in nature or to a memory completely unrelated to the sound heard. It could be in nature, children, an event, like a concert or cultural one. Even though using sound for the prompt, the poem can also include any of the five senses.

Example:

The Stream

Breezes ruffle the wind chimes;

it is water over rocks – the stream where she stopped

over forty years ago driving into the mountains<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

from San Bernardino.

The tree leaves speak to her.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 22, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Robert Wynne

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Robert Wynne:

Choose to be (insert emotion here)

How do you feel right now?  Write down 3 words describing your current emotional state.  Now select one of those words, and look it up on the internet (or in a reference book, if you happen to have one handy).  From the list of antonyms of that word, choose 5 and use all of them in a poem no longer than 14 lines.  Read it out loud.  How do you feel now?

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 21, 2019: Poetry Writing Prompt – Michael Griffith

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Michael Griffith:

Take a dozen or so Crayola crayons from a large box at random.

Now swap the descriptive words in their names with colors. Robin Egg goes with White now, not Blue. Unmellow now goes with Red, not Yellow.

In cases where you have a fair number of one-word names, combine these. Shadow-Gold. Aquamarine Copper.

(If you don’t have these crayons on-hand, Google search their names.)

Write a poem using at least three of these newly combined colors. Some may not seem to make perfect matches at first, like robin egg white or aquamarine copper, but let these stretch your descriptive muscles and grow your landscapes (the aquamarine clouds in my coppery sky, for instance).

Further, can you create a neon grey flavor or smell? An apricot textured blazer or scarf? Unmellow red could be how a phone ringtone sounds. Appeal to several senses in your poem.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

#napowrimo #poetry