In religious lore and mythological fables, there are often stories of gods coming to Earth in disguise to learn more about humanity. If you were a god, what disguise would you use, and how do you believe this would help you discover more about us oh so interesting creatures? Alternately, if you were Not The Least Bit Interested In Humans, what would you hope to learn during your time on Earth?
2. Wild Pear Tree
It's been January for months in both directions is an incredible first line for a poem. For me, Augusts are the interminable months of the year. Is there a month for you that seems to go spectacularly bad (or, if you're feeling hopeful, a month that goes splendidly) each year? Tell us why, and how you would either choose to make it stop, or to make it stretch on forever.
2.5. Wild Pear Tree
Akbar also discusses sliding into a bathtub filled with pears as if into a mound of jewels. Center a poem around an unusual physical situation, and try and provide the reader with a thoroughly unexpected tactile comparison that makes more and more sense each time you read it.
3. Do You Speak Persian?
Is there a language you studied or learned when you were younger that you no longer use on an even semi-regular basis? If so, what words do you remember? What words do you wish you still had easy access to?
4. Yeki Bood Yeki Nabood
every day someone finds what they need/in someone else Who was not just important to you but necessary to who you were when you were younger. What is your relationship to that person now?
5. Portrait Of The Alcoholic With Home Invader And Housefly
It can be difficult/ telling the size of something/ when it's right above you -- the average/ cumulus cloud weighing as much/ as eighty elephants. Using very precise images, explain something seemingly or actually intangible you previously misunderstood but now are comfortably knowledgeable about. For example, peoples’ ages, physical distance, the transition from liquid to gas, etc.
What do you believe should have killed you? Don't tell us how you survived or what you will do now that you've lived through it. Merely describe the situation and sensations before you knew you were going to live through it.
7. Drinkaware Self-Report
Find a very brief (ten questions or less) quiz designed for self-help or accountability. Rather than answering the questions literally, tell a brief anecdote that you feel answers the question better than a yes, nor or quantifiable answer.
8. Calling A Wolf A Wolf (Inpatient)
envy is the only deadly sin that's no fun for the sinner Write from the perspective of someone who's envious of something you have achieved. Do not judge them for their envy.
9. Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before
What trivial things do you remember that have, in no way, benefitted you? What information that you wish you'd retained, do you think it has replaced?
10. Portrait Of The Alcoholic With Withdrawal
Start a poem with the following ghost line: everyone wants to know/ what I saw on the long walk/ away from you
11. Some Boys Aren't Born They Bubble
Humans dance uniquely. I mean that other animals seem to mostly dance with purpose. They have a go-to move for mating, or for fighting. There seems to be an infinite amount of ways a human can dance, and it's not always (sometimes, sure, but not often) clear what their motivation is. Tell us the story of a particular dance.
Penance is both a religious and secular oddity. We punish ourselves or others in a way that usually benefits neither us nor the person being punished. This is a strictly human behavior that defies logic. When did you punish someone (or something...say if you smacked a computer that wasn't working fast enough, or kicked a chair because you stubbed your toe on it) in a way that, in retrospect, didn't help either of you. When were you punished in that fashion?
Despite the weird resurgence of Flat Earthers, our planet is still round. Yet creatures moving across the ground, through the water, and in the sky, appear to be moving in straight lines. What illusion most perplexes you, even though you are fully aware that it's an illusion?Portrait Of The
14. Alcoholic With Doubt And Kingfisher
Faith is a story/ about people totally unlike you/ building concrete walls around their beds. If you are a person whose life is faith based, tell us a story about something you did in defiance of faith. If you are someone who does not tend to make decisions based on faith, tell us about a time when faith played an unlikely role.
15. Desunt Nonnula
What were your favorite words growing up? Even if you didn't know what they meant, what words did you use so frequently, they could have been your catch phrase on a terrible sitcom?
16. Learning To Pray
So much of who we are as children is mirroring adults' behavior. If you can remember such a time, tell us about it. If not, have you ever seen another child mirroring an adult? How did that affect you?
17. Portrait of The Alcoholic Three Weeks Sober
Imagine being the sand forced to watch the silt dance/ in the Nile. Imagine being the oil boiling away an entire person. Become a specific body of liquid, whether the last drop of gasoline spilling from the pump into the tank of a car, or the remnant of a rainstorm.
18. Supplication With Rabbit Skull And Boquet
Ghost line prompt: I'm growing into my science
19. Exciting The Canvas
Write a deconstruction of the words light and shadow.
20. A Boy Steps Into The Water
Attraction to something non-traditional always seems dangerous, whether its lust for a person, desire for an item of clothing we can't afford, drive to play a video game that would definitely make us late to work. Focus on something you want but don't need, and, in fact, will never get. Forget why it wouldn't work out, just tell us about the experience of wanting it.
21. Wake Me Up When It's My Birthday
Keep a soul open and it's bound/ to fill up with scum. If we don't grow as people, we become terrible. There is a reason why calling an adult "infantile" is not a compliment. Why we dislike grown adults who have tantrums. Why we dislike the desire inside us to throw a tantrum when things don't go our way. It's cathartic to wail and rattle our limbs, but it never solves anything, so, whe we adult properly, we use the language and logic we lacked as children. What part of yourself do you fear becoming stagnant? How are you working to change it?
Jeanann Verlee's Prey presents a series of poems about predators and their prey. It's a an exquisitely articulated chronicle of trauma. It's a fantastic book, but it was difficult to come up with a suite of prompts to represent the poems without the fear of inducing trauma on anyone following the prompts, or ignoring the necessity of the subject matter of these poems.
I've tried to be as true to these poems as possible without making this too emotionally difficult for people following the prompts. This post picks up from the previous one.
30. Secret Written From Inside a Piranha's Mouth. Have you ever adapted your diet, your music listening prefereces, your wardrobe to fit the preferences of someon you were attracted to? Gross, huh? But most people have done it at some point in their lives. Write a list of things an ex preferred of you and others they dated. Let the list speak for the dynamics of the relationship.
31. The New Crucible. Choose a play you've enjoyed (or hated, if that's how you roll). Write a poem with at least three distinct sections. The first should focus on the plot, the second section should focus on a particular character, and the third should spotlight a setting where a particular scene (or the entire play) takes place.
32. Dumpster Full Of Dresses. Give us a tour through a place where something meaningful happened to you. Present it as a Haunted House.
33. The Feast. Several years ago, someone went well out of their way to hurt me, for no reason other than to try and improve their own social capital. While one friend was advising me that the person who hurt me wasn't worth wasting time on, another friend said that the other person wasn't so bad because one time that person had prepared him breakfast. We don't speak very often since then. If you were to prepare a meal to save or ruin a friendship or a relationship, what would it be? How would you serve it?
34. For The Woman Who Loved The Predator More Than His Prey. Curse someone with a litany of things that sound positive, but when combined will ruin the person you are cursing.
35. Secret Written From Inside a Crocodile's Mouth. How would you construct an emotional suit of armor for yourself?
36. The Believer. Ghost line prompts are where you start a poem with lines from someone else's work, and when you are finished, you erase those lines so that only your own work remains. Begin your poem with the following ghost line: He said tequila, she gave him a grove of lime trees. The sea.
37. The Boy Moving Overseas Asks To Meet For Coffee To Address Our "Miscommunication" About His Ongoing Friendship With A Man Who Raped Me. Recount a difficult conversation with someone you believed was your friend. Be more thorough and honest (and metaphorical) in your recounting than you were able to in reality.
38. The Unkindness. Tell us a story about animals helping other animals. Whether you metaphor it to your life is up to you.
39. Alias. Are there any good reasons for a person to change their name? Explain your involvement in a name change, whether its your own or someone you've encountered.
40. Secret Written From Inside A Grizzly's Mouth. Ghost lines: Every few years I start a bonfire,/incinerate a mattress or a man/ or a city, then dust off the rubble/ and rebegin from the nothing/ I uilt with my own hands.
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.