Hi everyone! We have a guest bartender here today – Sarah Russell.
Thanks for letting me take a turn at bartending for the Pub’s Poetics night. I’ve noticed that most of our prompts say to use the prompt word in our poem. Not so this week. In keeping with William Carlos William’s line from “A Sort of a Song” where he reminds the poet about using metaphor and says “No ideas but in things,” your challenge is to take a concept or feeling — hope, joy, despair, longing, patriotism, anger, grief, etc. — and write a poem that captures the concept without ever telling us what the concept is. It will be up to the readers of the poem to name the concept or feeling in their comments. And don’t be dismayed if different readers find different words to “label” your poem. After all, poetry is all in the interpretation of the reader. Here are some quotes about using Things to illustrate Concepts:
“The words printed here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.” Saint Augustine
“Don’t Tell Me the Moon Is Shining; Show Me the Glint of Light on Broken Glass.” – Anton Chekhov
“The poet is the priest of the invisible.” — Wallace Stevens
And here are some examples. Again, we may not all choose the same word to define the concepts for these poems, but we’ll all come close.
What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
― Kobayashi Issa, Poems
Stephen kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.
Stephen’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day.”
― Sara Teasdale, The Collected Poems
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay, A Few Figs from Thistles
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.”
― W.H. Auden, Selected Poems
Did you find something close to joy, unrequited love, recklessness, and despair from the 4 poems?
Now it’s your turn. Take what you’re feeling, and make it so real through “things” that we’ll be able to name it. Can’t wait to read (and interpret) your results.
Here’s how to link up your work:
• Write a poem based on the prompt.
• Click on Mr. Linky. Enter your name and the direct URL to your poem.
• Provide a link to dVerse on your blog so that your readers can find us and participate.
• Leave a comment here.
• Read and comment on other poets’ work. Be sure to check back later for more poems to comment on.
About our guest today:
Sarah Russell has returned to poetry after a career teaching, writing and editing academic prose. Her work has been published in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, and Psaltery and Lyre, among other print and online journals and anthologies. She has won awards from Goodreads, Poetry Nook, and is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee. She blogs at https://SarahRussellPoetry.net.