Prompt: An Object Poem

I did this one yesterday and had a good result. From Western Wind, an Introduction to Poetry by David Mason and John Frederick Nims. Write a descriptive poem (of, say, a dozen lines) about a familiar object or anything of interest to you. Do not use any adjectives until the last line; then try to use, effectively, a series of three. Here’s a famous example from Charles Simic.

Fork – by Charles Simic

This strange thing must have crept
Right out of hell.
It resembles a bird’s foot
Worn around the cannibal’s neck.

As you hold it in your hand,
As you stab with it into a piece of meat,
It is possible to imagine the rest of the bird:
Its head which like your fist
Is large, bald, beakless, and blind.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Prompt: Let’s Cut

Let’s cut. I edited a prose poem from 237 words to 99. It was much better for it. I didn’t think I could do it, but it got easier and easier to lose things that weren’t working. So take a piece of flabby, unsuccessful writing and see what you can lose from it, trim it to see the real beauty under the fleshy flesh.

Elizbeth Kerlikowske

Prompt: Syllabic Verse

Syllabic verse: count syllables. It can help shape the poem. I had a poem yesterday that was doing nothing, so I thought maybe syllabics would help. I counted the first line: 12 syllables. I counted the second: also twelve. The first four lines were all twelve. This was educational. It’s a better poem now. Like rhyme, syllabics force you to reconsider your word choices. Try it with a floundering poem, not that you have any of those.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske