Friday, April 1, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts: To Be a River

Happy Poetry Month! 

It is my pleasure to kick off National Poetry Month with a special treat of a poem and a photo.  Take a few minutes to soak in the beauty, and you'll find your prompts below.  There are four prompts today so that they will give you lots of writing ideas to get through the weekend.

 Photo by Susan Hering (Madison, WI)

To Be a River by Susan Elbe

In late March on gray days
when the water runs like glass,
I want to be a river
birds hover over
as if preening in a mirror,
the weightless shadows
of their wings kissing back.

When the melt is running high
and winter races down, away,
I want to be a river,
to reshape myself again,
and yet again, coming
and going easily between
rip and reach, torrent and strand.

When ice still crazes at the edges
thin as burned-out velvet,
I want to be a river, a scarf
of light visible from far away,
a landmark for return,
offering dark birds, silver fish
from my drifting, silted hand.

"To be a River" first appeared in Wisconsin Trails Magazine (March/April 2004) 
This is reprinted with the author's permission.

Today's Prompts

I hope you enjoyed the poem by Susan Elbe and the photo by Susan Hering.  Today's writing prompts are inspired by both.

Poetry Writing Prompt:  Susan connected with the river in her beautiful poem.  Your assignment is to write a first daft of a  poem  in twenty minutes that connects with nature.  Your working title will be "To be a ______."  (You put in something from nature in the blank.)  After you write the first draft, change the title to something else. 

Fiction Writing Prompts: 

1.  Focus on the scene in today's photo for at least a minute.  Start a story from this scene.

2.  Story starters: 

a.  As she looked up at the dogwood tree, she remembered. . .

b.  The river reminded him of the scarf she was wearing when. . .

Journal Prompt:  Reflect on what memories the word
"river" triggers for you.  Start your journal entry:  

When I think of rivers, I think of. . .

Today's writing inspiration is possible thanks to the generosity of Susan Elbe and Susan Hering.  Thank you, ladies! 

Susan Elbe is the author of Eden in the Rearview Mirror (Word Press) and a chapbook, Light Made from Nothing (Parallel Press). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including Blackbird, diode, MARGIE, North American Review, Salt Hill, and A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-five Years of Women's Poetry (Calyx Books). Among her awards are the inaugural Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize (Calyx), the Council for Wisconsin Writers Lorine Niedecker Award, and fellowships to Vermont Studio Center and Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can learn more about her at .

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