Happy (Early) Spring,
I can’t speak for East River, but we sure have had a mild winter coupled with an anxious spring. This annual thaw is usually perfect to knock the dust off of the old moleskin (at least if you’re like me; some poets are more disciplined, but when I can’t write, I at least read). I’m writing this in hopes of offering some interesting spring writing prompts for fellow poets and poetry lovers. Of course, spring is often inspiring enough by itself: the leaves are coming back, warm breezes ripple through curtains, sun sun sun. But if you’re interested, take a shot at one of these prompts and maybe we’ll see it in an issue of Pasque Petals down the road.
- Spring as prologue: The mechanisms of spring are familiar to all of us, so use that as a lead-in, an inciting incident for your poem. Spring can do its thing in the title or the first stanza, then move on. What is the aftermath of spring cleaning? Packing away the winter wardrobe? Are you Emily Dickinson, does spring remind you of death? I always view spring’s arrival as having cinematic qualities, so it serves as a good setup. What you do from there is entirely up to you.
- Spring lamentation. Not everybody likes spring, and not every speaker is in-line with his or her respective author. Take an oppositional stance against spring. Rant against its arrival, its erosion of your icy palace. List all of the noises that you are no longer safe from. I love spring but that wouldn’t stop me from trying to see it from all angles.
- Linked haiku. Write a series of linked haiku celebrating, reacting to, or otherwise related to spring. I think practicing writing with limited syllable space is good for learning concision. Nearly all of the haiku poems I’ve read deal with nature, so this just seems, dare I say, natural.
- Daylight Savings. This is a highly focused subject, but it has always interested me. What are we losing with that hour? What would you do if we didn’t have to lose it? What are we saving our daylight for? The amount of metaphoric opportunity within the concept of saving daylight is inspiring (at least for me).
- Spring catalogue. Whitman made cataloguing famous in his “Song of Myself,” providing inventories of images from every corner of America. The right images often inspire emotions/ideas, so use objects, and their sequence, to tell a story or present your attitude toward spring.
- Ode/anti-ode: write a poem to something springy that inspires you, like John Keats’ Grecian Urn, or write an anti-ode to something that knocks the wind out of your sails. If you’re not one for the romanticized hyperbole often dedicated to nature, offer a new point of view.
- SoDak Spring: Despite how nice it has been, there’s always talk that winter isn’t yet over, that we’ll get one last blizzard before April. So, write about how we approach spring in South Dakota with this in mind. How does a South Dakotan prepare for spring that is different from a Kansan? Or, to think of it in a different way, how does that blizzard undo all of our spring if and when it comes?
I hope you will find one of these prompts useful in getting the ball(point) rolling. If not, write whatever you want. Feel free to share any of your own spring time prompts. This is your website, too.