Prompts for Red Wolf Journal Chapter 12

Dear poets,

Have you been writing poems? Reading poems? That’s what you do right? Maybe we also count lines or syllables or stresses or whatever so as to get the rhythm and form right. Poems are breath too. They are form. They carry meaning and often the meaning is so subtle that you don’t know what hit you till it hit you. Often the meaning is conveyed through a startling image. For example in a Mark Strand poem, you read about the persona seeing a man in black cape and black boots and fingers embellished by twinkling rings and when the person tried to offer his or her hand which black man did not take, he or she “felt like a fool and stood in his black wake,/shaken and small, and my tears/swung back and forth in the sultry air like chandeliers”. The affective part.


Prompt 63:  The prompt is to write a poem about reading a poem. Presumably you read a poem and it is affecting in some way. You’ve had that experience, haven’t you, and so now you’re to write about it.  Preferably write a beautiful poem about it. Try to locate that beauty in the reading. The affective part. Or how the persona in the poem is affected by someone or something. The beauty of poetry is in the transaction of feeling between the poet and the reader after all. That’s where its value lies. That’s what being human is about. You don’t need to reveal the poem unless you want to. We’re terribly cryptic people, poets, aren’t we? 😉 I think it’s because as humans, we are deeply complex and layered and only poetry can convey that.


Prompt 64: Hey Happy Thanksgiving! So guess what (no surprise), write about giving thanks, the beautiful moon, in no particular order. Or what you ate during Thanksgiving dinner.


Prompt 65: Grief comes unexpectedly. It’s there like a part of your identity. In fact if you want to ID someone, like a chop on your hand that will show up in special light, you’d see where the patches of grief are, that will help identify your being. We grieve for dead animals, people, whatever. They enter us through grief and it’s as if these memories are what make us see their beauty. Loss hence beauty. That’s your prompt.


Prompt 66: Hiya, write about the beauty of fiction. Someone wrote in his blog: First breakfast then mythologize about breakfast. Something like that. By definition fiction isn’t truth. Yet it is truth-telling. There’s a kind of beauty in that, isn’t it? I just woke up from a hot nap. The kettle whistled. The cat planked on the mat. Whatever. Make up something.


Prompt 67: This time round, you should draw inspiration from a nude. What? Well you know, nude statues. They’re plenty of them around. Venus is nude right? So is Narcissus. The statue of David by Michelangelo is nude. Lady Godiva is nude. Nudity is beauty. If you’re not into literal nudes, then you can write about nudity as metaphor. In fact your poem about a nude can be so covered up that nudity becomes just a sort of craving.


Prompt 68: Write a poem about fish. It could be culinary, or a gastronomic experience eating a specific fish such as herring, or mackerel, or you could go all fishy and make up a story and turn a fish into a character. You could write about fishing. I’m one of those people who watch fishing documentaries with avid interest. Or be inspired by this quote by Henry David Thoreau: “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” Thank God for fish.


Prompts for Red Wolf Journal Chapter 11

Hi y’all,

As the season turns cold, I imagine you might be more home-bound and do more writing. In case you’re not tuned in, Red Wolf Journal is inviting submissions to its Winter 2015 Issue 8 so you could bump up your act and actually do the deed (writing prolific poems and submitting to our journal). I imagine if you consider yourself a poet you ought to be writing poems and wanting to share them on a common platform. Our theme’s “Seeing Beauty” and I’ve been sort of forcing my mind to that mindset–not easy (surprise)–because I don’t usually think like that. I’m not all that spiritual. Well, trying to see the beauty in everything is quite the challenge. I challenge you to do it as I myself am challenged.

Prompt 57: Oh there’s Remembrance Day this week. Lest we forget. But we don’t. We do not ever forget. We’re like forget-me-nots. Your heart does not forget. The point is not that we’ll forget because we won’t. Your heart won’t allow it. Your heart’s a poppy.
Write a remembrance poem, dear heart, letting this image from Magpie Tales inspire you if you will. If you think your poem’s good enough, submit it to Red Wolf Journal.

poppies 1

Prompt 58: Zephyus is the god of the west wind and god of spring. He carries a basket of unripe fruit. He is also depicted as a winged youth. What wind blows for you? That’s the question for the day. If you think about it, then maybe you’d wind up writing about wind along with other stuff? Could writing be a kind of wind? I think so.

Prompt 59: Write about a blue landscape. Here’s Marc Chagall for inspiration.


Marc Chagall, The Blue Landscape


Prompt 60:


Marc Chagall, The Bethrothed and Eiffel Tower

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, I watched this video of a Parisian dad talking to his young boy about it. How do you explain violence and death to a kid? I guess you say things like “flowers and candles” offer protection and isn’t it true, that we need to surround ourselves by these outward symbols after trauma? They kind of surround us with the aura of beauty. Your prompt is to write about the beauty of Paris. With a lil help from Chagall. Don’t forget to submit to Red Wolf Journal’s Winter 2015 issue.


Prompt 61: As you undoubtedly realize, I’m a fan of Chagall. He has a child-like imagination which I like. I like the euphoric quality. Also the romantic quality. And that to me, is a spirituality that speaks of beauty. Aren’t we all really simple at heart? And man’s seventh age is the child, isn’t it, says the bard. But I prefer not to see it as a debilitating childishness. The artist sees as a child does. Well, the prompt is to try and capture the spiritual qualities of a child. As in a Chagall painting.

cx Paris Through the Window

Marc Chagall, Paris Through the Window


Prompt 62: Heh, maybe I’m trying to build a stash of Chagall poems. But here I am, with another one of his, one that’s clearly symbolic, yes? If you didn’t already know he has a visual iconography comprising stuff like musicians, animals (particularly goats), fish (his dad worked for a herring merchant), flying, and couples who lay or fly together. This one’s clearly about time, yes? Write a poem about time,  will ya?




Marc Chagall, Time Is A River Without Banks