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Prompt #122 Words of Wisdom

September 6, 2012

Wisdom is having things right in your life and knowing why.
~ William Stafford

Words of Wisdom
And, wisdom, by Wikipedia’s definition…

The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.  The soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Then there’s this wisely humorous advice…

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.  ~ Groucho Marx

With that said and proper definitions given, this week’s prompt is, in poem form, answer the following question:

If you could go back in time and impart a bit of wisdom to your sixteen year old self, what would you say?

As a quick example, one of Langston Hughes’ most famous poems might be the very piece of wisdom he would tell his sixteen year old self.

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken winged bird,
That cannot fly.

~ Langston Hughes

Have fun imparting a bit of wisdom and perhaps we’ll all become wiser for the telling and reading of one another’s lessons.

Come back to leave a link to your poem next Wednesday when you see our second follow-up post called, It’s Post Your Poems Day!

If you don’t have a blog, then please, post your poem in the comment itself. *** You are invited to respond to the prompt given here, but if you have something else you’re just itching to share, please feel welcome in doing that. Our first desire here is to encourage you to write and learn and share. *** When leaving comments to other’s poems, please be appreciative and encouraging. We are not a poem “critique” site (unless someone specifically asks for that). Be kind with each other (and yourself!). *** Please consider including a link with your blog poem back to the prompt response here at We Write Poems so that others may see and join our community. More participants do make better soup!

  1. September 6, 2012 2:32 am

    Great site, thank you !
    You wrote:

    “We are not a poem “critique” site (unless someone specifically asks for that).”

    I am coming to see the benefit of such a position.
    Do you know any “critique sites” for people trying to improve their poetry?
    Thank you kindly.

    • September 7, 2012 2:50 am

      Thanks and welcome here!

      One of the first, most potent, longest lasting barriers to writing is simply not writing (how much that our internal editor says, “oh no, not that.” So a willingness to write bad poetry is a most useful thing to learn. And how is the process engaged? Write, write, practice, practice, listen and observe. You (we all) are capable people and we learn by intent – and practice. Try doing our prompts (even when you feel maybe like you have nothing or even nothing good, do it anyway). I have a certain faith that you will learn.

      And yes, you are welcome to explicitly say, “critiques welcome”. And some folks maybe will or will not. Good to remember that real critique is no easy or shallow thing to do – so not everyone does, but you can ask. (We do still stand that even critiques need be kind, considerate, never judgmental.) (Big topic really.)

      Meanwhile read, read lots of poems. See what other writers do. Even to mimic is a way to learn, and with time it can integrate itself in you, become truly your own. So read. So write.

      It can also be useful to both yourself and us (readers) to include with your poem some commentary on what you were trying to do, what you thought worked well and what didn’t. Obviously your own “critique” always comes first and you can learn a lot just in that process itself.

      That said, no, I don’t currently know of any critique sites. The one I knew long ago, they weren’t really nice, thought that critique meant harsh. I don’t buy into that. Besides, there is a subtle and not subtle difference between how each writer needs to write, just as we are each unique, so our writing will also be. And rules or any sense of rightness is only transitory in truth. Trust yourself. Write. Observe the result. Write more. Experiment. Be willing to fail. They’re only poems for goodness sake, and there’s always a chance for more!

      Be in community but of yourself. You will learn. (My point of view you see.)


      • September 7, 2012 3:59 am

        I loved your analysis — it actually helped me understand and correct some of my own attitude. Thank you. I am brand new to this form of writing — and to the community, to be sure. So thank you again for the pointers. Again, fantastic site ! Loved the last assignment because it is foreign to me to think of that sort of poem — that ‘foreignness’ will push me (it always has).

  2. September 8, 2012 7:18 pm

    Hi Sabio, I love that you think of these prompts as poetic assignments. I think we have quite a number of talented individual poets in our midst, so yea, be spurred.

    • September 10, 2012 11:21 pm

      Hi. Thanks for wanting to join our play! However, please note, we post our links on Wednesdays to a second posting, not the original prompt post. If you would, please re-comment and link then, so that more people will see and get to read your poem. Thank you.

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