Tonight, at the bar, I overheard someone say "Well, I'm no Mary Oliver, but --" and then someone had the nerve to order a drink from me. By the time I tracked down the speaker, they couldn't remember what it was in reference to.
Your ghost line prompt is to start a poem with "I'm no Mary Oliver, but--" and show me all the possibilities of what that statement could possibly mean.
Swans are pretty much universally regarded as assholes, and for good reasons. But surely there is one swan out there that's sweet and kind. Tell us about a time you encountered an animal that defies its stereotype: a cuddly hornet, a fidgety sloth, a fish that seems to know where its going. Feel free to make one up, if you can't think of a real example.
If orange can be a flavor and a color, so then can grapefruit, and lime, and processed cheddar. Go deep into describing a color that you can perfectly envision, but isn't commonly thought of as a color.
Write about your best night of sleep. Write about your worst night of sleep.
Found poem prompt: pick two songs from any artist (or two different artists). Remix the lyrics into a poem about something entirely different.
Every hour or so, my phone tells me what the weather is like, even if I am outside in said weather. It tells me how much warmer or colder it is from yesterday, and what tomorrow will be like. And that's fine, and everything, but I didn't ASK it for this function.
What conversation would you have with the piece of technology that's designed to help you that you find the most annoying.
If you had to name yourself after the thing that you think most defines how you get through your day to day life, what would that be? How would that change peoples' perception of you?
I read an article about how cats play fetch the same way dogs do.
This is a lie.
You can throw something, and a cat might deign to run after it, at which point it becomes theirs. You are not allowed to take it away from them, only to wait until they become bored enough to not care about it.
Tell us about a time you tried to play a game but someone kept changing the rules. How did that turn out?
Build off the following Ghost Line: I live in the capital of Everything You Love Is Gone. May or not be inspired by the constantly changing neighborhood where I work. Or may be inspired by your love life. I'll never tell.
Cantab Doortender, Michael F Gill, offers this week's prompt:
Write a ten-line poem wherein each line is a single word containing three letters, making it appropriate to enter as the top 10 high scores on, for instance, a Pac-Man machine.
Inspired by Nicole Sealey's poem "Medical History":
Your family's medical history is one way to get a feel for who you are and where you come from. What other list-style poem ideas can you come up with to define your history? A list of your ancestors' and family's jobs? Hobbies? Mapping out where they lived?
In deference to the holiday, write a poem about either leaping to something (i.e. a conclusion) or a poem about a bad experience with mushrooms.
Since returning to the wilds of society, I frequently find myself bothered by the idea of ...
You know when you walk into a room, and then you remember you were supposed to get something from a different room, but then you think...
What’s in the back of your mind? Either discuss a time when a thing at the back of your mind impacted your life in a significant way, or else write about the last thing you remember from the back of your mind.
Wander your local supermarket (recommended: pick one where you don’t have to cross a picket line) and find a flavor you think is fucked up. Orange vanilla cola? Watermelon sandwich cookies? Cucumbers? Whatever: describe it. Now explain why you hate it, or why you begrudgingly love it.
As part of Claudia Wilson's workshop this week, participants were given a two pronged prompt:
Name your favorite word, or favorite word of the moment.
Use your favorite word of the moment to prompt a poem without using that word
Ask someone else for their favorite word, and write a poem that supports or refutes their choice.
Additional inspiration: a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien on the words “cellar door.”
Adam is alive and out of his coma, but not terribly coherent. His sense of chronology and what is and isn't real are wonky. This makes a perfect time to work on Dadaist, cut up poems.
Take an existing text, be it a poem, a newspaper article, a scene from a play or novel, cut it up by word or phrase. Put these cut up phrases in a bag, and shake it up. Now, without cheating, take the words and phrases out at random.
Congratulations, you have a Dadaist poem!
Adam was supposed to be home by now. Unfortunately, due to a poorly maintained hot tub, he was in a coma, still in Florida. While it was terrifying at the time, looking back on it, being killed by bacteria in a hot tub is a ridiculous way to die.
I had very publicly talked about how glad I was to finally find a vacation home with a hot tub before the trip. This felt like very weird karma.
What strange karma would you be embarrassed or amused to find out had killed you or caused you grievous harm?
It's Adam's last week in Florida, and it's been a weird trip.
Florida is famous for its odd news stories, which usually include a headline starting with "Florida Man".
Check out this archive of Florida Man stories, and find one which inspires a new poem for you.
As I was on my way to vacation this week, this prompt comes from Simone Beaubien, who recently attended a Shane Koyczan show, and came back with the following Shane line s a prompt:
When was the last time you knew everything was going to be okay?
A man ordered crickets online, and was surprised to find that as soon as he opened the box, crickets went everywhere.
If a box arrives at your door; and you open it, and something floods out, in too great a quantity for you or your living space, what is it? Do you try to save yourself? Hold back the tide? Or salvage the contents of the box?
The Cantab staff lazily took the week off to either celebrate with their families, or else sneer at their neighbor's holiday decorations. What would you do with a week off from work? Not what would you actually do, but what do you wish you could do if you had a week off?
I don't know about you, but I've had some complicatedly incompatible roommates in my life, and many more roommate interviews with people who seemed to not have bothered to read the ad I placed. People deathly allergic to cats, responding to an ad that mentioned two long-haired cats. People with two massive canoes moving into a place with no yard, basement, or storage area. And, of course, the people who show up and get performatively political in either direction before you've figured out what their name is.
I deserve better. You deserve better. Write yourself an ad, not for the roommate you want, but the one you deserve. Even if you're past the point in your life where roommates are a consideration.
American English is filled with idioms and expressions that don't make any sense, but that we say anyway. Take an expression that you, or people in your life, which doesn't have an obvious origin, and create your own mythology for it. Don't use the real story, create a whole new back story for shark jumping or sock knocking off.
Write Or Die
Scott Woods's Twitter Prompts
Rachel Mckibbens' Prompt Blog
The 30/30 Prompt Blog
Asterisk And Sidebar Prompts