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Poem It Out Classroom

Filtering by Tag: a writing prompt

week 3: getting into your digsite

liz lamoreux

video URL: https://vimeo.com/100268997
video password: poeming 

This week, we travel into the past and unearth a few stories and memories. This post is full and the video is long (about 20 minutes), so you should really settle in with a cup of tea and your notebook. Feel free to pause the video and come back. Move through it at your pace.

In the video, I invite you to add the senses to your "poetry toolbox" this week and to see them (including the sixth sense of "knowing") as a tool for grounding yourself in this moment as you dig into the past. They can also be a powerful ally in accessing memories and setting the scene. (So when in doubt, rely on your senses this week.)

Additionally, I invite you to think about looking for the poems that give voice to similar stories or experiences you want to investigate or write about. You can think of this as your poetry creative adventure this week!

I share the following poems and poets in the video:

John O'Donohue's book To Bless the Space Between Us, and I read the blessing, "For the Traveler." You can find out more about John O'Dononue here.

Sharon Olds' poem "I Go Back to May 1937," and you can read it here. I really honor the way Sharon Olds gets right to the realness of things in her poetry. It is gritty and honest and helps me to be more honest in my own writing.

Marge Piercy's poem "The Day My Mother Died," which you can read here and find in Colors Passing Through Us.  

Prompt: A day that changed everything

Today's prompt is to write about a day that changed everything. The story of this day could be big, something that shifted everything in your world. And it could be much more subtle and be about how one quiet choice realigned you in a way that changed you. Remember to gather your words, your questions and observations (and you could use that tool to first write notes/observations about this day), and your senses to help you as you write.

Another way to work with the prompt today would be to let go of focusing on one day, and instead create a timeline of sorts (starting with today and moving backward in the way that makes sense to you). You might make a literal list that begins: Today... Last week... In April of 2009... In the Spring of 1978... Or you might be even more specific. Have fun with it and look for clues that could lead you to a poem. Perhaps your list will become a poem. 

week 1: cultivating curiosity

liz lamoreux

a late winter observation: the crocus is always the first to sing

Today, I'm thinking about how writers see the world. How we look for clues and take mental notes and think things like, "I'm going to use this later," when in the midst of family drama or even grief. I'm thinking about how we say that we feel "called" to write and we talk about how we "need to write" even when we aren't writing.

For me, this call to write feels like a need to tell the stories of what I'm observing in my inner and outer worlds. It feels like something I must do, and when I don't do it, I know something is missing. (Even if this "missing" part sounds like a cliche, it really does describe a lot of my mid-20s when I wasn't writing very often but reading books about writing and wishing I was "a writer.") And when I am most honest about this calling, it really is about a need to feel less alone...to know I am not the only one...

Thoughts and observations that I have jotted down lately include everything from "How is it that I am becoming my mother?" to "Why are the crocuses always the first to bloom?" to "Standing at the edge of the sea feels like home but I am terrified of deep water and I really want to unpack that into a poem" to "What was the last word I said to her?" Sometimes the questions and observations force me to the blank page to try find my way to an answer or an understanding. Sometimes they push me until I realize I simply have to create space around the truth that I might never understand. Other times I write so that I won't forget or so I will somehow remember a piece of the past. 

One piece about my own writing is that I can be wordy and sometimes have a major case of explanationitis. Writing in lists or in shorter lines that feel like they might become a poem helps me to drill down to what I really want to uncover or understand or say. Which moves me to say that all of what I have written and will write in this post (and say in the video) could be drilled down to this phrase: Pay attention and tell the story.

Today, let's begin to connect (and reconnect) with this observer inside us who is curious about what she sees as she moves in the world. Let's make lists and ask questions and pay attention...

Today's Writing Prompt: Explore the World with Your Poet Self

video password = poeming

video URL if you need it (sometimes vimeo is funny when videos are private) = https://vimeo.com/39631690

In today's video, I share ideas about ways to let your curiosity guide you. I want you to imagine that you are a reporter with a little notebook and you're taking notes about what you see and feel and smell and taste and hear as you move through the world. Note the questions you have. Write them down. You can also use your camera to document your observations. However, I want to encourage you to be sure take notes with pen and paper.

The PDF linked below is a more specific explanation of this prompt in "assignment" form that you can print out and carry with you if you like. It gives you a place to begin if you want one.

Explore

week 1: let's begin

liz lamoreux

video password = poeming
video URL if you need it = https://vimeo.com/99801343 

In the video today, I share about how reading one poem pushed me to feel less alone and begin my own adventure into poetry, how this course will be a bit like my yoga classes, and today's writing prompt.

I also mention the following poems and resources:

Today's Writing Prompt: Just put pen to paper (and let go of any brain lint)

Grab your journal (or computer if you prefer to type) and turn to a blank page. Set a timer for at least 5 minutes (and no more than 15 or 20). Put your pen to the page and write until the timer goes off. Think of this as just making space in your mind by letting all the clutter and thoughts and “brain lint” that gathers escape to the page. I often call this freewriting or stream-of-consciousness writing.