This setlist from an unknown band was waiting for me by the lights when I entered The Cantab this evening, and I thought it lent itself to a fantastical narrative.
Try and find a setlist from your favorite or least favorite band, and craft a poem or a piece of fiction around the titles on said list.
No, there are no bonus points for using Insane Clown Posse, Sugar Ray, or Menudo.
We've all held terrible jobs, or jobs we weren't qualified for from time to time.
When I'm writing something about a place where I've worked, I tend to focus on the places where I stayed for so long that the job either became dull routine, or else something I loved. But rarely do I hear someone talk about a job that they were almost immediately dispatched from, either by being fired, or quitting in a rage.
Tell the world about the job you held for the shortest amount of time and how and why it became No Longer Your Job.
So many prompts involving parents sound more like they were envisioned by the psychologists of violent criminals rather than poets trying to inspire other people to write.
This time, put your angst aside and focus on your parents' occupations or fields of interest and those seemed to define or contradict the type or person they (a)(we)re.
In hopes of getting more people involved in the Interactionality project, April Penn suggested that I create prompts based on the books I'm reading for the project.
To get my mind prepped, I went back to August and came up with 31 prompts associated with the poems from the month. Consider this a page of Super Bonus Prompts:
Sharon Olds via Valerie Loveland 8/1/16:
Revisiting An Old Friend
Write about a book that once very important to you. Reread it. How has it changed? How have you changed?
Sharon Olds 8/2/16:
(When you begin a poem with a line or stanza written by someone else and then delete it, it is a Ghost Line or Ghost Stanza.)
For this poem, begin with the following stanza from Sharon Olds's "Late Poem For My Father":
When I love you now,
I like to think I am giving my love
directly to that boy in the fiery room,
as if it could reach him in time.
Langston Hughes 8/3/16
What Happens To A Rhyme Scheme Deferred?
Try writing a poem using the rhyme scheme and meter of Langston Hughes's "Harlem"
Jennifer Knox 8/4/16
Sudden Color In A Blinding Field Of Beige
Take a line from any Jennifer Knox poem and write a poem using that line as a title. It's ok if it morphs into something else and you decide the title doesn't work with the finished product, but start with the title and see where it takes you.
James Gendron 8/5/16
The Opposite Of Poetry Isn't Necessarily Oppression
James Gendron writes some unusual poetry that I quite enjoy. He gave an interview with thefanzine.com where the first question they asked him is "What is the opposite of poetry?" What would your answer be?
Daphne Gottleib 8/6/16
Forcing The Interview
Find a public figure, writer, or musician you'd like to interview. Come up with a reasonable amount of questions (ten to twenty if you're ambitious). Now find interviews with the person, or consult their writing/lyrics and use them, probably out of context, to answer your questions.
Anne Carson 8/7/16
Either Poetry Can Change Your Life Or It Can Not
A local poet recommended Anne Carson's Autobiography Of Red to another poet friend. When the friend return it, he was asked "What did you think?" He replied "It didn't change my life." If a poem or poet has changed your life, write about it. If not, explain why you think poe(m)(t)s haven't changed your life.
Anne Carson via April Penn 8/8/16
From her interaction with Anne Carson's Autobiography Of Red, April notes
Geeze you’re even better than if we hired Richard Brautigan
to write his version of Where the Wild Things Are.
Imagine one of your favorite childhood books rewritten by one of your other favorite writers.
Kim Addonizio 8/9/16
Conversations With The Book
Take a conversation you've recently had someone. Include the details of where you've had the conversation, and the context for it. Now remove what you actually said and replace it with lines by another poet. Also use that poet's lines to fill in your conversational partner's words.
Kim Addonizio via Lauren Yates 8/10/16
The sonnenizio was originated in Florence in the thirteenth century by Vanni Fucci as an irreverent form whose subject was usually the impossibility of everlasting love. Dante retaliated by putting Fucci into the seventh chasm of the Inferno as a thief. Originally composed in hendecasyllabics, the sonnenizio gradually moved away from metrical constraints and began to tackle a wider variety of subject matter. The sonnenizio is 14 lines long. It opens with a line from someone else’s sonnet, repeats a word from that line in each succeeding line of the poem, and closes with a rhymed couplet.
This is an invention by Kim Addonizio to explain a form she made up. It's a fun form, though. Try writing your own sonnenizio.
Juan Felipe Herrera 8/11/16
Write a poem constructed using stage directions. Whether they are the only element of your poem, or just a part of it is up to you.
Richard Siken 8/12/16
Smells Like Smells Like Teen Spirit
Write about how someone's cover song has impacted your life.
Paul Guest 8/13/16
Audio Commentary Of The Damned
Watch a movie you've seen before, but not recently. Watch it with the volume off, and no subtitles, and write visual descriptions of what's happening. Not necessarily plot points but your commentary on what's happening on the screen.
Sherman Alexie 8/14/16
In What I've Stolen, What I've Earned, Alexie writes poems with 14 parts. They are not based on rhyme, even length, or meter. There is only a loose concept of couplets. Borrow his form to create your own poem.
Sherman Alexie via Ariel Baker-Gibbs 8/15/16
Many poets spend time doing metaphorical unpacking, and I'm not saying you can't do that, too, but for this poem, start with removing things from a suitcase.
Nikki Giovanni via April Penn 8/16/16
Riding The Ellipses
Nikki Giovanni...often writes...using ellipses in place of line breaks...you can try this...if you'd like...or...take a piece of writing containing many....elliptical phrases...write lines in place of the ellipses...of things you imagine...belong between the phrases...now keep your words....and replace the original words with ellipses
Jeffrey Macdaniel 8/17/16
I broke my word so many times, it became
a handful of crumbs I sprinkled at my father's ankles
whenever I needed money.
Nicole Terez-Dutton 8/18/16
A Catalog Of Places You've Almost Been
Write about a trip you've almost taken, or, about a place you tried to get to unsuccessfully.
Kevin Young 8/19/16
Eat This Prompt
Write about a particular food that is important to you. Not an ingredient but an entire dish. Something either you like to prepare for yourself or a favorite dish prepared for you. Explore why it is important to you and how it relates to someone in your life.
Kevin Young 8/20/16
Take a poem you've already written, and write an entirely new poem using as many of the words from the original as you can but, you know, in a wildly different order.
Corrina Bain 8/21/16
Erasures are poems where you usually take someone else's writing, and erase a large portion of the words to create your own poem. For this experiment, take one of your own pieces of writing and, without changing the order of any words, erase words and entire phrases, leaving blank space where those words and phrases used to be.
Martin Espada 8/22/16
This Is The Year
The eponymous opening poem of Martin Espada's Imagine The Angels Of Bread sings a song of hope for the future. You do not have to be optimistic, but write about how you imagine the world will be changed in the coming year.
Leigh Stein 8/23/16
Dispatches From The Future
One of the prompts I see used frequently is writing a letter to yourself when you're younger. It's a neat prompt. This time try writing a letter from your future self helping you through your now.
Leigh Stein Via Kelly J Cooper 8/24/16
A Theory Of Dementia Involving Helmets
Write about either the fear or lack of fear of a hospital visit you've experienced.
Patricia Lockwood via Andrew Campana 8/25/16
Mawwiage Is What Bwings Us Togethuw Today
I married the three jars of sauerkraut in the closet,
I married the bacteria fermenting them,
I married their lids rusting shut,
Begin with a specific item from a relationship (you can do this prompt even if your'e single!) and how you were "married" to this item. Now zoom in and in and in (and back out, if you choose) on how this item is a metaphor for your relationship.
Patricia Lockwood 8/26/16
The Gender Stereotypes I Was Born To
The last line of Patricia Lockwood's Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals is
I was born as a woman, I will talk you to death
Deconstruct a stereotype of the gender you were assigned at birth, and how it does not fit you.
Yusef Komunyakaa 8/27/16
I Apologize For The Eyes In My Head
Choose a part of your body complicit in something you now view as a mistake. Write an apology for its role in the experience.
Jim Daniels 8/28/16
I love work poems. Write a poem about the job you held for the briefest amount of time, and why you left/were fired.
Mark Doty 8/29/16
Choose three things in your life that have a particular image or theme recurring. Write a poem for each of these times and then stitch them together using the structure of a fugue.
Justin Chin 8/30/16
Create a short conversational phrasebook where you translate common phrases from an industry, or subculture you belong to.
Justin Chin 8/31/16
Fine Print Warnings
Write a series of side effects that might occur after using a common or mundane item (Chin uses a bookmark). Feel free to make shit up.
Write Or Die
Scott Woods's Twitter Prompts
Rachel Mckibbens' Prompt Blog
The 30/30 Prompt Blog
Asterisk And Sidebar Prompts