Where You Come From

Each member of the workshop is collecting poems over the next few weeks. The target is ten poems, short prose pieces, or excerpts of prose that we like. Each of us will compile their collections into a chapbook/zine to give us a picture of our current taste. This collection will also help to inspire our work and give us targets to mimic or learn from.

I shared two poems with the group without really discussing more than our impressions of what was going on. First was Yeats’ “The Second Coming.” Then, we followed that with Elizabeth Bishop’s “Little Exercise.”


Last night’s prompt might seem like a simple variation of last week’s. This prompt is again inspired by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s poemcrazy. We found it quite interesting, in any case. The key will be to write with your weak hand. So, give yourself a little more time to write than usual and be patient while your hand tries to emulate its complement.

Begin by listing (with your weak hand) feeling and emotion words. Give yourself at least five minutes. Next, list landscape related words. Again, try working for five minutes. Give your hand a rest in between, if necessary.

Before you begin the final step, think back through your life for the times when you felt most at home. Think of which locations felt familiar, even though you’d never been there before in this lifetime, and prepare to write. For the first two minutes of the next step continue to write with you weak hand. Then, allow youself, if you want, to switch back to writing with your strong hand, and write for eight more minutes. Start with these words: “I come from…” and try combining your lists of feeling words and your list of landscape words to see what you come up.

Good luck!