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prompt 170 what context?

August 15, 2013
        So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it.

one of the tasks a poem can (and should?) enjoin is to examine and transform the context of what it has to say. this is a process of rediscovery!
often don’t we find fault, say some particular statement is given “out of context” so its seeming meaning is untrustworthy. however with poems isn’t this the very loom upon which new associations are discovered and expressed? no fault but blessing instead!
here, for this prompt, we’re giving you one whole sentence (but only one) yet ask you to respond directly only to the phrase as highlighted above. that in itself is one small step away from the original context. what are the secrets of every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance? the “context” is for your poem to say, and best, find multiple ways in which refreshing context changes the meaning for what you write.
now remember, keep in hand from last week the notion that, no one has ever written this. context can take the familiar into new uncharted territory. allow a hand to become a bowl, a glove, become a wish, become a message unfound, become…
when you take a walk in the woods, expect the unexpected, but better yet, just observe what comes to you (appreciatively). if poem words seem reluctant to change, then you change your setting, the place, the time of day, and one change may lead to another. good writing.

bonus points if you know the source for this quote! (hh,s) and we’ll tell you a little later on.

  1. aprille permalink
    August 15, 2013 3:03 am

    “Meiner Frau Ninon gewidmet” If I remember right đŸ™‚
    Pity I know what it was meant to be about. Now starting from scratch is going to be a little harder.
    You DO come up with the most intriguing assignments. Thank you so much for taking the trouble for us.

    • aprille permalink
      August 15, 2013 3:32 am

      Couldn’t wait to get it written down HERE before it escaped my head đŸ™‚

  2. August 15, 2013 6:25 am

    Well. I gave it an unusual context.
    I Get Up. It’s Only Three or Four A.M.

  3. August 15, 2013 5:15 pm

    Couldn’t find my beat-up second-hand copy of the book, else I would have forced myself to read it again before trying my hand at a poem inspired by one of its many great lines. So mine is a rough first draft that I’ll return to.

    To me, the tale from which the quote came begged for a ghazal. Especially given how well the theme of context felt so much like ferrying shore to shore to shore to shore as I drift off on the story’s end.

  4. August 16, 2013 6:40 am

    Life is art…there are no imitations – perhaps just limitations.

  5. August 16, 2013 9:16 pm

    What context?

    My response here

  6. August 18, 2013 8:32 am

    No extra points for me. I’m afraid I don’t know the work the quote is from.

    Mine at

  7. August 20, 2013 9:44 pm

    Hello. A very challenging prompt.


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