I fell in love with poetry for the first time at 7and grade. I was looking for how to be myself while my college heart working overtime and that puberty arrived with vengeance. I was about to become a teenager reckless, but at 13, I found a home in my logs and comfort by organizing words according to specific patterns. Poetry was the place where I could talk and find peace in the midst of all the chaos college. Once I found it, I never wanted to let it go.
Poetry also interested me. Young people have the most to say, and sometimes they want to say it with as few words as possible. How to say the most with the least? That’s how I felt and sometimes how I still do. Oh! There you are, poetry to heal and grow with me.
I hope these weeks together writing helped you exploit your emotions, to preserve memories, to place your own hearts in the security page. These prompts are meant to be repeated over and over again. You will always come to the fresh page with new experiences. I tell my students that I could write a new love or a new original poem poem every day because we are constantly changing. Our lives are disrupted and permanently disrupted, and when we turn to poetry, we discover who we are when the waves arrive, when the rain falls, when the storm changes our perception, when family members fall ill or pass – who we are are when we fall in love and when we fall in love, when we get new jobs or lose them, when children are born or when our worlds turn upside down. Poetry is there to catch us.
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The art of poetry is work. For me, it’s kind of forever; the hard work of finding myself again and again. I hope you have discovered something new in the past 21 days. I hope you have new poems as a gift – to yourself or to others, that you were surprised or moved or even fell in love with yourself again.
Keep writing, keep exploring, keep showing up.
# 15-21 prompts
Prompt #15: Ancestor Poem
My grandmother is 102 years old and is still full of stories from the past. She enjoys reliving every detail of her childhood on Charles Street in New York’s West Village. She remembers what she was wearing, who she was with, and the conversations they had. She remembers riding in Central Park and the time she fell in love with my grandfather. Our ancestors are full of poems and highlights of long lives. Today, choose an ancestor that you know well or that you would like to know more about. They could be alive or live only in your memory. If possible, contact them or someone who knows them well. Give them some dialogue and a frame. Help them reappear, teach you something or give advice. Think of your poem as a portrait or who they were or who they are now. Get inspired by: Grisel Y. Acosta.
Prompt #16: Middle/High School Poem
Many of my poems drift to memories or what I call narrative poems. These types of poems help me to see me and they also help me when I build characters for books intermediate and young adult I write. They help me understand who I was at that age and what I needed to hear. It also helped me as a parent to know who my children 8 and 11 years and what they might need to hear from me. What can you learn by writing me at your college or high school? I used to write on the back of photos of these years: What a time to live! I love this saying, as if every year was correct. This helps to start thinking about fashion, sayings, dance movements, music, looks, energy that you had at that age. You could start your poem: Dear 7and Self-grade … Junior Year Dear me … Oh … A college board is … It improves … Get inspired: Danni Quintos.
Prompt #17: Friendship Poem
Friendship is one of the most durable things in my life, and I always think about how to feed and replenish friendships: make plans, go out to dinner, see shows, discover the art together, talking and speak. Today, choose a friendship or a group of friends to write a poem. I grew up in a small town in Kentucky, and I kept some of these friends for four decades. The poem I write for them might seem different from what I would write to my mothers friends or my artist friends or people I met when I moved to New York. Choose a friendship in your life and think about what it means and what it takes to maintain it. Choose a time when your friendship really shone. You could start with a letter or an ode. You can start in the middle of a conversation or call your friend and ask him about one of his favorite memories of your time together. Write a poem, frame it and give the gift! Be inspired by Andy Powell.
Prompt #18: Recipe Poem
This one is simple, especially if you know your way around a kitchen (which I don’t). Choose something that you know how to do well. My mom taught me how to fry an egg like a champ, so I know I need olive oil or butter, two eggs, salt and pepper, a frying pan, and some patience. to just flip it right. For today’s poem, choose something you can create a recipe for. Maybe it’s one for a good life, or a perfect summer vacation. Maybe it’s a recipe for saying goodbye or ending a relationship that isn’t working for you. Think of an actual mix recipe now the two together. Will you need a teaspoon of work or half a cup of shameless attitude? How about a pinch of sunshine or a handful of stars? Make this recipe poem all your own! Be inspired by: Li-Young Lee.
Prompt #19: Poetic Form
Today, let’s look at styles and shapes that have a definite frame. In my daily work, I directed the poetry of international exchange program founded by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and DreamYard project. We work with high schools in Japan, Korea and the Philippines, so some of my favorites include the haiku, the sijo and tanaga. I love the settings and how they fit so much in such a small space. The Poetry Foundation is a brilliant resource for finding new and exciting forms and those you speak directly! You can write an acrostic poem with the letters of your name or use an anaphora or a line repeated. Play and experiment here! Be inspired by: Vincent Toro.
Prompt #20: List the poems
As we come to the last two days writing together, I wanted to share something that I often wake up to my creative spirit. I love making lists. I endless task lists anywhere in my house and I myself often refers to the checking and recalibrating them. It’s a way for me to see the day, week or year. I make lists of states and countries where I’ve been and where I want to travel. You could make a list of what you want to do before you have 40, 60 or 85 years. You could make a list of your favorite food or your top ten appointment. It is a simple way to check in with yourself. Start with: My favorite of all time … Since I like … Joy … My top ten … Be inspired by Willie Perdomo.
Prompt #21: Future poem
Where do we go from here? We have reached the end of our time writing together, but we’re just getting started on this path to creativity. It was a supreme joy to write with you in recent weeks, and I hope you continue in this process. For our last poem, we will write the future. Sometimes when I look at the weeks, years and decades to come, I feel both energy and anxiety. Instead of speculating, putting some ideas and visions in place. What would you like for the future? How do you want to be? Tell the world. Share with plans and the ultimate dream. Think about your community and where you live. Include ideas or visions of local, national and global. How will you contribute to shaping and navigate in the future? First: What I see … What I do … My future includes … Be inspired by Elizabeth Acevedo.
Ellen Hagan is a writer, artist and educator. She is the author of six books, including her current collection of poetry, Flower fiascos, and his forthcoming Young Adult novel in verse, Don’t call me a hurricane, to be published in Bloomsbury in July. His work is in ESPN Magazine, She walks beautifullyand Sin of the South. She received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry in 2020 and has received grants from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. You can find more prompts at www.ellenhagan.com and follow @ellenhagan on social media.
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