Prompt: Anna Journey

Every Monday, I’ll be posting a writing prompt for poets. The big rule is you only have 20 minutes to write! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but trust me it’ll be great.

Each prompt will have a list of specific things to include, inspired by poetry I’m reading.

The prompt this week comes from the book “Vulgar Remedies” by Anna Journey (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

The poem should include:

  • 2 line stanzas, 20 lines total
  • An element of violence (an image, object, action, etc.)
  • An old remedy/old wives tale
  • A body or body part
  • A deceased person (real or imagined)
  • And the words: shrimp, bone, follicle, curve, magic, seam.

Bonus points if you can get everything in!

Leave a comment and let me know how the prompt worked for you.

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Prompt: J. W. Marshall

Every Monday, I’ll be posting a writing prompt for poets. The big rule is you only have 20 minutes to write! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but trust me it’ll be great.

Each prompt will have a list of specific things to include, inspired by poetry I’m reading.

The prompt this week comes from the book “Meaning a Cloud” by J.W. Marshall.

The poem should include:

  • 3 stanzas
  • 16 lines
  • Title the poem a date without explaining its significance, (ex. July 14, 2006)
  • contain a popular song title
  • a specific type of bird
  • And the words: stone, tickle, huckleberry, moon, cage, and brown.

Bonus points if you can get everything in!

Leave a comment and let me know how the prompt worked for you.

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Prompt: Chris Dombrowski

Every Monday, I’ll be posting a writing prompt for poets. The big rule is you only have 20 minutes to write! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but trust me it’ll be great.

Each prompt will have a list of specific things to include, inspired by poetry I’m reading.

The prompt this week comes from the book “Earth Again” by Chris Dombrowski. It’s going to be a short poem, so make every word count!

The poem should include:

  • 4 lines
  • Only enjambed lines
  • 3 images
  • Be all one sentence
  • Have no narrative
  • And the words: last, branches, thatchy, moonlight, muscle, pane.

Bonus points if you can get everything in!

Leave a comment and let me know how the prompt worked for you.

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Back Soon!

Life is slowly getting back to normal after a hectic summer full of surprises and wonder. That means: Poetry Prompts will be back starting next Monday!

In the meantime, here’s a picture of Will and I on our wedding day last month!

Pens will be flying soon!

-Rana15-0720tahir-blog-17

 

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On Charleston.

These past ten days I was able to bury myself in a community of writers at my last residency as an MFA in Writing candidate at Pacific University. For my graduate reading, I took a long time to craft the following statement, which I read at campus chapel.

“At her reading, Dorianne [Laux] asked us to think about Charleston. I’m sure many of us were thinking about it before we got here. Here’s what struck me: the terrorist who went into a historic Black church, killed nine people, and left one alive so she could tell us what he had done, that terrorist is 21 years old.

Think about that number, that age. For a while there was this idea in the ether that when all the old, racist farts died off the world would be better. And as a woman of color, and millennial, I’m telling you that it’s not true.

We live in a time when everyone agrees that racism is bad, but we will not talk about the institutionalization of racism and how it breeds new racists. This is a time when we can easily condemn a White celebrity chef for saying the N-word, but not an economic policy that makes jailing young Black men profitable. We agree racism is bad, but don’t know what it is, and refuse to talk about it. There is a haunting silence we walk through.

I say this, not just because of my heavy sense of political and civic duty, but because my relationship to poetry is directly tied to my experience as a racialized entity, when I moved to the United States. Eight years ago, I went from being a full person, to being a Brown person. Eight years ago, I went from writing fiction, to writing poetry. I don’t believe it was a coincidence, in fact I know it was not.

Now, since we are in a chapel, I thought it would be appropriate to take some influence from the Bible that these nine people had believed in. And I say to you, regardless of any religious, political, cultural, or racial affiliation: if you are a writer, and believe in the Word, and that the word is good, is necessary, is life, then it is your, as well as my duty, to break the silence.

I don’t mean we all need to bang our drums and scream, there are degrees to this—read the names aloud like Tyehimba [Jess], ask for a moment of meditation and remembrance like Lin, read a poem like Vievee [Francis] and Tom, or, like Dorianne did, just ask yourself and others to think about it.

In Islam, the Shaheed, or the martyr, those who died fulfilling a duty to God, is honored with a place in heaven. I would like to again, read aloud the names of the martyrs, and would like to add the names of three Muslim American students who were killed by an Islamophobe in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this February.

Pastor Clementa Pickney
Tywanza Sanders
Cynthia Hurd
Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
Myra Thompson
Ethel Lee Lance
Reverend Daniel Simmons
Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor
Susie Jackson
and from Chapel Hill, Deah Barakat
Yusor Abu-Salha
Razan Abu-Salha

And, ending this note, I want to ask you to think about Charleston, think about yourselves, think about your place in the world, and who you are, and why you are.”

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