Choose any one of these prompts for a new original poem of at least twenty lines. Rhyme, if you want. Establish a regular rhythm, if you want. If you decide on stanzas, think about why you want some, and what goes in which stanza.
Submit to TURNITIN before class starts, and bring a printed copy to class. Thank you. Enjoy. Remember poetic tools we have studied this semester–i.e., tools you have seen in published poems, tools you have tried or have wanted to try in your own poems.
Here are the options, based on poems and other writings by Tomas Transtromer.
- from “Seeing through the Ground”: a poem that describes the perspective from underneath or behind something, or from the other side of something. What is the view from this atypical, unexpected, unusual perspective? What details do you see, and what meaning can you make from these details? See Transtromer’s poem for its view from underneath a city. Notice fun moments like “a mole photograph.”
- from “The Tree and the Sky”: a poem that includes, or even focuses on, an unexpected quality of something. For example, in this Transtromer poem, “The tree is walking”–and not just walking, but specifically “walking around in the rain.” Who knew a tree could walk? In a poem it can, and it can even walk in the rain. In your poem, give something an unexpected quality, as happens in this poem. See where your imagination takes you with this unexpected quality. Also, notice the title of this poem. It looks to me like the Tree and Sky have some kind of relationship. Your poem does not have to do this, but it could, it might. Who knows?
- from “A Winter Night”: a poem that compares two things not normally linked, as in Transtromer’s poem, where “storms have childlike hands and wings.” At one point, the storm “whimpers for the child.” As in “The Tree and the Sky,” a relationship seems to be developing between the storm and the child. In your poem, think of a subject you want to write about and then imagine something not normally linked to that subject. So, maybe Transtromer experienced a storm and wanted to write about that storm. Eventually, he started comparing that storm to a child, in one way or another. Then his poem grew from there. Try this for a poem of your own.
- from “Solitude”: a poem that describes different kinds of, different experiences of solitude. How many kinds? That’s up to you. Transtromer’s poem has two parts. Does it describe two different kinds of solitude? I don’t know. Maybe. If you like this subject, try this option. Your poem does not have to have two parts. I suggest, however, that you use different approaches, metaphors, or imagery for each different kind. Explore the different flavors, shapes, or colors of this subject called solitude.
- from “Memories,” the first chapter in Transtromer’s little book, memories look at me: a memoir. In that chapter, he writes, “My earliest datable memory is a feeling. A feeling of ________” (3). For this assignment, describe your earliest memory, one to which you can attach a feeling and an approximate date. For example, about how old were you when you had this experience? You can start the poem with Transtromer’s exact words, or you can find another way to start your poem. Use the poem to capture the details of the experience. If you use his exact words, fill in the blank with the name of your own feeling. Through your description of the memory, explore the experience. Use the poem to make some sense of the details you remember, or the details you imagine. Since you are writing a poem, and not producing a documentary, if some details seem fuzzy or you feel lost about exactly what happened, don’t worry. Instead, make some details up, if the poem seems to call for them. See what develops.