Poetry Writing Prompts on Grief

  1. Sit with Grief long enough to write a poem about it.
  2. Try not to get too distracted by the multitude of thoughts ricocheting in your head.
  3. Try not to become too distraught over the immense heaviness in your chest.
  4. Be angry, for a while, that grief sits here instead of your father, or grandfather, or friend. 
  5. Try to find the exact words to express those feelings.
  6. Sorrow? Devastation? Abandonment? Resentment?
  7. Because anger isn’t even the half of it. 
  8. Acknowledge that you are completely lost and unsure where to go from here.
  9. Then, open the smoke-stained atlas from 1991 that you found in your grandparents’ house. 
  10. Fiercely scribble and scrawl your words on the pages until they are indistinguishable from the many roads and rivers of Nebraska. 
  11. Imagine you’ve created a new map that, if studied well, can lead you through the grief. 
  12. Trace your words with your finger until you are overwhelmed by the endless, overlapping paths betwixt lines of poetry. 
  13. Rip out the page and set it on fire. 
  14. Cry until you dry-heave and think that you may be dying, too.
  15. When you stop (don’t worry, the tears will cease), turn your journal to a blank page and make sure you have your favorite pen on hand.
  16. Start over and don’t you dare regard your outburst as overly dramatic. Every set is necessary.
  17. Offer grief a cup of tea and insist that it stays a bit longer. You don’t have all the words just yet, but you’d still like to find them. 
The Ghost Town / Shmuel Dresner / 1982
Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

Na/GloPoWriMo’s Day Four Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem . . . in the form of a poetry prompt. If that sounds silly, well, maybe it is! But it’s not without precedent. The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s