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Pain and Place: Poetry Prompt

In her poem, posted on this very blog, Kari Gunter-Seymour describes her Appalachia, both past and present.


Along with physical descriptions (white oaks, rye grass, moonlight, feathers, etc.), there are personal details--a confession of sorts--and even angel bones. The mix of these details creates the poem's feeling of out-of-reach yearning.


See if you can manage that combination in a poem you write this week. No matter where you grew up, you know things about that place that outsiders do not. You know secrets and family history and and the truth behind the stereotypes. You even know where the (angel) bones are buried.


You also--because we all do--have a painful secret. It may not be traumatic; in fact, it should not be. In Gunter-Seymour's poem, it is something her cousins said about her, to her, that has stayed with her and informed her self-perception ever since. We all have that--a thing someone said to us once that they have probably forgotten but we have held close, allowing it to affect our lives.


Mix those two things--place and pain--in a poem. Any insertion of angelic-ness is purely a bonus point situation!




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