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  • Christine Delea

Small Town News: Poetry Prompt

Please read today's posted poem, Séance, before trying this prompt or reading on.


{little dance while I wait for you to read Séance}


Okay. Let's get to the prompt.


I have no idea if Brennan Bestwick's marvelous poem is based on an actual story, although it reads as if it was. I love how he takes a tragedy from the past, imbues it with birds resurrecting the drowned boys, and also brings in "those of us who have never died" who find safety in the woods. The mixture of "reality" (whether or not it is actual, it reads like it is) with the surreal makes this a haunting (hahaha! pun intended) poem.


Your writing prompt for this week is to take a story from your youth (whenever that was);

it does not need to be a tragedy, only something you remember. If it was a local event, even better, because its affect would have been personal.


Write about that event.


Add in some "opposing" elements. Bestwick does this with water, land, and sky in his poem, and he does so without hitting the reader over the head with it. (Examples: dry and wet; awake and asleep; warm, hot, cool, cold; wealth and poverty; stripes and dots, etc.)


Definitely get some creature or thing doing something they cannot actually do--this is where the surreal comes in. Bestwick uses not just birds, but robins specifically, and you should also be specific with the thing you choose to anthropomorphize.


I can almost guarantee that this prompt will take a while, with numerous revisions, but it will be fun and satisfying.






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