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.