This month, I will be offering four bonus prompts in addition to the prompts that Yousei Hime will offer. With this being the holiday season, I thought it would be a really cool thing to offer holiday-inspired bonus prompts. You don’t have to write holiday themed or holiday topic poems. Just relax, and let your thoughts lead you.
Today’s prompt centers around the word “tradition”. (Speaking of which, thank you Yousei for the idea for this prompt.:))
Tradition typically arises out of religious holiday celebrations. For example, some of you soon will be celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (it normally falls on December 8, but is being celebrated on December 9 this year since December 8 is the second Sunday of Advent). Speaking of Advent, some of us will be celebrating it, Christmas, and other holidays immediately to follow. Some of us just finished celebrating Hanukkah and some will be celebrating Kwanzaa in a few weeks. And let’s not limit things to the typical Western holiday season. The Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr along with Ramadan was celebrated this summer, and the Indian holiday Diwali in early November (all over the world, I might add).
And let’s not forget secular traditions. Football on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday (I could rave on about crass commercialism here, but I’ll digress). Homecoming dances and football games. And what about personal traditions? For some, going out clubbing on Friday nights are a tradition. Going to the weekly poetry night can be a tradition. You get the idea.
So, with some of this in mind, let the notion of “tradition” seep in your mind. Meditate on it. What does it mean to you? What traditions do you and your family celebrate? What is your connotation (either positive or negative) of the word? Do you embrace tradition — or do you run away from it as if you’d tried to rob God on the subway at gunpoint? Or you could go completely slant with this one, writing about tradition indirectly, from a sideways angle. The choice is yours.
So…write that tradition poem, going in whatever direction it takes you.
Thank you all for this opportunity and the very warm welcome.
It is a gift giving season. Handmade gifts are the best, and what better way to share love and self than writing. Let us write and wrap a poem as a gift.
Choose a person as a focus for the poem. It can be family, friends, lover, someone of major influence in your life, an unforgettable stranger, or anyone that sparks creativity in your writing.
- Focus on and describe one physical trait of the person–eyes, hair, lips, hands, smile, anything.
- Describe something he or she is does with that trait.
- Where would this person like to travel (or where would you like to take them)? Wrap the present in a scene from there by describing the scene in vivid sensory imagery.
- What gift/souvenir would you give them? How would it pair with the trait? Describe the gift with those questions in mind.
- On the enclosed card, write something to this person that you could only whisper to them when they are asleep (or separated from you).
Each of these steps could be viewed as unique small poems. Now make a collage which presents them (pun intended) as a whole–postcard, scrapbook page, quilt, holiday card, clever word-processing design or anything else.
I encourage you to take and make what you want of the prompt. I look forward to seeing everyone’s gifts.
Thanks thanks thanks and even more for Misky’s November prompts. We mean it muchly Misky! They began with crossing bridges then ended with (maybe the biggest bridge of all) the contents of a day-dreaming mind! Job well done.
For December we would like to introduce Tawnya as the newest member of our WWP prompting team. Haiku, she says guides much of her writing intent, so to that honor a very minor note of my own (most humble and not much of a haiku, however [with a smile] here is…) [neil]
- haiku, so much with so few words
spoke, yet of myself oft times
You know Tawnya Smith perhaps more likely as Yousei Hime from her journal of a poetic rabbit, Shiteki Na Usagi. There she writes of her “poem-coded” secrets with a gentle yet steady gaze, as she also says, The wind blows every day. Every day there is something new. [and yes, careful attention is mandatory to "see", then describe that "newness" of the world]. Of that observational dedication we can all take home a generous dose. Please join us in saying hello and making Tawnya feel welcome with us here in her new role.
~Irene and Neil
First of all, happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it!
This prompt has no theme, no structure, no direction or form. Let’s go wild! Let’s dance on our gears and spin our wheels. Let’s daydream.
I love to daydream. It often produces thoughts that are astonishingly clear. I’ve actually solved a few problems by daydreaming. My muse loves a bit of it, too, so I hope yours does also.
Ready? I’d like you to sit in silence for a moment, and let your mind slip into daydream mode. Or look out the window, if silence isn’t possible. Or let your focus flutter about the room where you are sitting (or through that window), and then wait for your eye to settle on something. Catch that first thought that floats by. In all likelihood, that’s what your muse wants to write about. Go with it: free-write, and tidy-up later, if needed. Take that object out for lunch or take that thought on a journey. Let your pen exhaust your muse.
Have fun, and I hope that you and your muse enjoy the conversation! I can’t wait to read all of your creations.
This prompt is about memory, and we’ll kick off with one of my favourite poems. I have many, finding it difficult to choose just one or two, and my favourites are influenced by my mood, but I always enjoy reading this one.
Over a Cup of Coffee, By Stephen Dobyns
Over a cup of coffee or sitting on a park bench or
walking the dog, he would recall some incident
from his youth—nothing significant—climbing a tree
in his backyard, waiting in left field for a batter’s
swing, sitting in a parked car with a girl whose face
he no longer remembered, his hand on her breast
and his body electric; memories to look at with
curiosity, the harmless behaviour of a stranger, with
nothing to regret or elicit particular joy. And
although he had no sense of being on a journey,
such memories made him realise how far he had
traveled, which, in turn, made him ask how he
would look back on the person he was now, this
person who seemed so substantial. These images, it
was like looking at a book of old photographs,
recognising a forehead, the narrow chin, and
perhaps recalling the story of an older second
cousin, how he had left long ago to try his luck in
Argentina or Australia. And he saw that he was
becoming like such a person, that the day might
arrive when he would look back on his present self
as on a distant relative who had drifted off into
The problem with memory is that if it’s not kept well-oiled, it starts to rust. Turns forgetful. Let’s oil the gears and resurrect an old friend or family member. Search back into your memory of a specific person, and then polish up your recollection of them, create memories, fill in blanks, if you need to.
So here’s what we’ll do. Take a piece of paper and pencil, and write your strongest memories of that person in a list. Now, to each word add a verb and/or adjective to bring that word to life. Don’t be afraid to add opposites or unusual word combinations. You’ll start to form word groups. Look for similarities, and let your muse be inspired by all the little encapsulated words of memory.
Now write about that person (you needn’t say who it is). Bring them to the forefront of your memory, and enjoy your time with that person again.
Welcome back for our second prompt of November, and many thanks for joining in last week for our bridge prompt. So where are we going this week? We’re on our bikes!
My first bike ride was short, and then I fell over, cracked a rib and bloodied my knees.
Let’s write a short, zippy poem with a quick meter — boom-boom-boom. Cut out all the unnecessary words from your draft version, throw away your training wheels, and go for speed and a short burst of words – visual, wind-in-your-hair, zippy. Keep your balance with speed, just like your first sprint on a bicycle. If it helps, keeps each line constrained by syllable count (tanka; cinquain; shadorma or nonet, perhaps?), and yes, I know that our friend Viv will growl, but growling is good exercise for the diaphragm; tightens up those core muscles so you can stay on your bike.
Think of all the things that a bicycle (or tricycle) represents: speed, exercise, balance, momentum, knees, legs, pedals, wheels, bicycle bells, newspaper delivery, vehicular traffic, freedom, fresh air, biking holidays, childhood, flat tyres, playing cards pegged on spokes, bloody knees…
Is your muse confused? Maybe you left yourself stranded on last week’s bridge – if so, use your bicycle to continue your journey.
I hope you have fun stretching those imaginary wheels. Happy biking!
(I took this photo in the loft space of Egeskov castle in Denmark. Here’s a link to their website, if you’re interested. http://www.egeskov.dk/en )
last call for Red Wolf anthology submissions!
just three days following today for you to email us with your poems for inclusion in our soon-to-be We Write Poems Red Wolf anthology.
November 15th will be the last day for poem submissions!
come join your fellow writers!
please read our submission guidelines before emailing us. remember to include a brief bio too.
best wishes, irene and neil