Written for National Poetry Writing Month NaPoWriMo
Day 11 - April 11th
Today, taking a leaf from Elhillo’s work, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of origin. Where are you from? Not just geographically, but emotionally, physically, spiritually? And having come from there, where are you now?
Day 9 prompt is: Our (optional) prompt for the day asks you to engage in another kind of cross-cultural exercise, as it is inspired by the work of Sei Shōnagon, a Japanese writer who lived more than 1000 years ago. She wrote a journal that came to be known as The Pillow Book. She recorded daily observations, court gossip, poems, aphorisms, and musings, including lists with titles like “Things That Have Lost Their Power,” “Adorable Things,” and “Things That Make Your Heart Beat Faster.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide! Some of her writing
In some of her writing she could be quite caustic and offensive with her thoughts. I chose this dark side as my muse today.
And now, for our (optional) prompt. Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of the possible. What does that mean? Well, take a look at these poems by Raena Shirali and Rachel Mennies. Both poems are squarely focused not on what has happened, or what will happen, but on what might happen if the conditions are right. Today, write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if,” of the woulds and coulds and shoulds of the world.
You didn’t just cause her pain You hurt me too in the process You vowed to love each other But you chose to digress She suffered pain you delivered With her head held high Always aware of her dignity Ignoring your every lie I was the fall-out of the war You two battled every day Truce not in the vocabulary You both wanted to slay
This child of yours cruelly cast off Unable to penetrate your standoff
Today, we’d like to challenge you to write your own sad poem, but one that, like Teicher’s, achieves sadness through simplicity. Playing with the sonnet form may help you – its very compactness can compel you to be straightforward, using plain, small words.
Today’s prompt is based in a poem by Larry Levis called “The Two Trees.” It is a poem that seems to meander, full of little digressions, odd bits of information, but fundamentally, it is a poem that takes time. I’d like to challenge you to write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time.