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.
20. If We Were Meat. Humans aren't often on the menu for other animals, apart from the occasional person antagonizing predator into being eaten, or hungry carnivore happens upon human in distress. Many science fiction books, shows, and movies have imagined scenarios in which humans became the favored meat of a deadlier predator. Now it's your turn. What life form would eat us, and how? You can be as literal or metaphorical about this prompt as makes you comfortable.
21. Menace. In horror movies, victims of the predator often get a goading one-liner in before they either escape or are killed. Fortunately, life is rarely like a horror movie (though more and more like a horror show by the year). Imagine a non-imminent-death scenario where you had the opportunity for an epic one-liner but you didn't think of it in time. Instead of giving us the lead up to the line, what do you imagine would have happened differently in your life After you gave the ultimate insult.
22. The Most Dangerous Game. Tell the readers about a time you were brazen, and it ended up working out for you.
23. Reprisal. Give us a complete story in a single tercet.
24. Secret Written From Inside A Lion's Mouth. 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 lines: I worried most that the worry would be what finally/did us in.
25. The Sociopath's Wife Knows Endurance. I've read many poems from the voice of the magician's assistant. What other job descriptions lend themselves to the metaphor of being victim? Tell us a story from the perspective of someone in that career.
26. Secret Written From Inside A Vulture's Mouth. Animal facts often make intriguing entry points for poems. Use an animal fact as the basis for a metaphor in a poem or story. Apart from mentioning the animal in the title of the poem, make no reference to it in the text.
27. How Women Begot The Bible. Persona pieces were a common fixture of performance poetry in the early 2000s. People would choose an interesting character from history and tell a story from their perspective. Instead of going precisely that route, write a poem or story from the perspective of an interesting character from history's therapist, or the best friend they told secrets to.
28. Velocity. What is your childhood bully up to now? How about a close friend that you grew distant from as you got older? Don't google them or Facebook stalk them, just imagine who they grow into. Write that version. Then, if it satiates you, you can look up what they're really like, and write a companion piece.
29. Secret Written From Inside A Shark's Mouth. Another animal fact poem. This time find three or four fascinating facts about the same animal. Alternate stanzas between telling us a story and telling us the trivia that inspired you to think of the story.
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.