Prompt #213: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand (More, or Less) Words

Greetings poets!

This week’s prompt is a image prompt featuring “San Antonio Riverwalk #1”, an art piece by our Issue 2 cover artist, Angela (Alex) Weddle.

San Antonio Riverwalk #1, by Angela (Alex) Weddle

Issue 2, “The River: Within Us and Without Us”, will be going live in a few days. In the meantime, we wanted to offer one of Alex’s other art pieces for your inspiration. What does the artwork say to you? Can you picture yourself walking by the river in the scene above? What kind of story might emerge within this scene — for example, what might be happening in one of the buildings? Or how about an ekphrastic approach?

Drink this in, poets. I’m excited to see what y’all come up with. And in the meantime, stay tuned for Issue 2.



Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River…
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

–Excerpt from “On the Pulse of the Morning”

Red Wolf Poems remembers Maya Angelou, who passed into the great beyond on May 28, 2014. She was 86 years old.

She has given us so much. For some poets, hers were the first words of poetry ever read. With her words, she celebrated individuals, gave encouragement, shed a light on wrongs and injustice, and educated many. By shedding light on the inner life and environment of herself — one African-American woman — she reminded us of our common humanity.

Poets, feel free to leave your thoughts, prayers, poetry, or anything else here.

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”
–Dr. Angelou’s last tweet

We Wordle #18



This week’s wordle is fashioned from Yousei’s Prompt 212 “Polishing Silver” – three words from each poet’s contribution. I reckon everyone knows the drill: 1. You needn’t use all the wordsbut you may if you wish, and 2. Post your work on your blog or post it below as a comment, and 3. Post a link to your poem so we may all read it and comment on your superb creation.

Here are the words, and bonne chance!

Bastet: eye camel living
Barbara: resinous crushed driving
Rick: sky sleep trees
Viv: idleness hope hold
Debi: shivers tight fragile
Hannah: truth knows words
Christopher: ditch kiss tea
Jules: sit cup cloth
Irene: dark hole door
Misky: apple stains thin
Yousei: stir foam dawn

I’m looking forward to reading all of your creations!


~ Misky

Prompt #212 – Polishing Silver

I hope everyone has recovered from last month’s poetry writing.  If you participated in a fraction of the prompts and poetry activities out there, then I know you have a drawer full of poems and drafts.  Get ready to open the drawer.

What do I mean by polishing silver?  I mean revising, revising to the point of creation.  Whether you write and then revise or you write/revise as you go, changes are always necessary.  But what about those poems we abandon?  What about the ones with good parts or ideas, but we find the whole unsatisfying?

For this prompt, I would like you to find a poem (or more than one) which you know needs revision but you’re not sure where to start.  If you choose more than one, try to choose ones with complementary themes or images (or images that create powerful contrasts/synergy).  Once you have chosen your poem(s), go through the following steps, using the steps that work best with your writing and emerging poem.

  1. In your poem(s), pick out your favorite parts (the parts you feel you got right/near right).  Write them down.
  2. In your poem(s), identify imagery, metaphor, themes, etc. which enhance your choices in step one.  Write them down underneath the corresponding parts in step one.
  3. Brainstorm new ideas to add to step two and write them down.
  4. Now to find connective tissue.  What do the choices in step one have in common–themes, physical images, colors, sensory imagery, symbols, etc.?  Make notes.  Mark them on your paper.  Add new ones to your lists.
  5. Look at what you have on your paper.  Find what connects best and write it on a separate page.  Try writing it out in prose and see if a story emerges.
  6. Time to consider your form.  Will you rewrite using your original framework (free verse, sonnet, haiku, etc.) or try a new form?
  7. Finally, polish out the details–word choice, transitions, line breaks, etc.

This is creation at work.  Going back and revising is not one of my habits (confession time).  So I am going to do this prompt with you.  Take your time and put your heart into it.  I look forward to seeing your new creations and especially in hearing how the process worked for you.



We Wordle #17


Hello wandering poets,

Welcome to our neck of the woods. Phew, we managed to transition to this new site. *pat on back*

Hopefully you’re now forgetting that you wordled too much in April. Because you’re getting a wordle today.
Here’s our collaborative word list from poems submitted to last week’s prompt, Prompt #211 Find the River. As you know by now, ours is a mixed platter and I’ve hand-picked three words each from your poems.

Barbara: limpid, blood, river
Viv: boggy, willows, mallards
Nicole: fire, veil, dual
puff of smoke: scenery, oars, bend
Christopher: faithless, mists, cascade
Hannah: gramophone, trumpet, melody
Walt: fissure, free, forsaking
Debi: torrent, pleasure, droplets
Misky: dolls, muck, magic
Irene: cage, stripes, camouflage
Jules: ink, stanza, symbols
Walt2: dance, cards, home
Rick: scent, stones, textures
Suzanne: currents, tides, impermanence

I thought I’d have a theme this time: Collision. When I was working as a book editor, “collision” was a favorite word in my book blurbs for pulpy romances. Desires collide. Words collide. Cars collide. You get the drift. If there’s no collision, there’s no friction, there’re no sparks, and you know first love is all about fireworks.

Optional: If you like music, then maybe you could search for songs that feature “collision” in the title or lyrics and steep in the song and let it take your poem somewhere.

You can of course, ignore both theme and music option and go your own wily way.

Do not feel obligated to use all the words and feel free to mutate the words as well. If the words aren’t serving your art, you should ditch them.

I hope your poems grow rich this year. Since, you know, they can’t possibly bring you riches. Except we all know they do make you spiritually richer. If they don’t, ditch ’em. Or dunk them in a pail of water till they come out clean.

Prompt #211 – Find the River

Howdy poets! And welcome to the first ever Red Wolf Poems prompt. We invite you to think, consider, and write. And your poem might be selected for Issue 2 of Red Wolf Journal. For more information about the upcoming issue, read our call for submissions.

Tawnya and I said this in our call for submissions: “Water, especially rivers, has been rooted in the human consciousness perhaps since the beginning of our existence as a species.” Maybe that’s why we keep being inspired by them, fascinated by them, and depicting them in our arts: visual, literary, and music. This week I’m going to ask you to use music as a jump off point to find your poem.

Middle fork of the Gila River, SW New Mexico. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Pick a song that is either about rivers or speaks of rivers in some way, shape, or form. My personal favorite is “Find the River” by R.E.M., especially these lyrics:

The ocean is the river’s goal,
a need to leave the water knows –
we’re closer now than light years to go.

(If you don’t know a good river song: here are some suggestions: “Take Me to the River” by Al Green or the Talking Heads; “Yes, the River Knows”, by The Doors; “Proud Mary”; “Big River” by Johnny Cash; “As I Went Down to the River to Pray”, “Dam that River” by Alice In Chains; “Green River” by Credence Clearwater Revival; “Old Man River”, “River of Time” by Van Morrison. Or…you could check out this list.)

The idea is, pick a song about rivers, or with a river in it, that inspires you. Listen to it, over and over again. Let your mind grab onto a lyric and wander. Let the song drip into you and look at your reflection in its clear, limpid pools.

A suggestion: if you’re like me and you normally come out with a coherent first draft, try to abandon your customary (especially if it is somewhat left-brained) way to produce a poem and just free-write first, letting your unconscious mind take the lead. Don’t censor, don’t edit in mid-poem, etc. You get the point. You can post your free-write as your final version, or clean it up — it’s up to you.

One more thing: we do ask that you include (whether in your process notes or just somewhere in your blog post) the title/artist of the song you chose.