Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Day Creative Writing Prompts with Peace in Wild Things

© Paul Schneider |

Because Friday is Earth Day, and it is still National Poetry Month, I thought I would share one of Ted Kooser's earlier column's from American Life in Poetry.  Please enjoy the column which features a poem by Wendell Berry, and your prompts will be waiting for you below.

American Life in Poetry: Column 17


Nearly all of us spend too much of our lives thinking about what has happened, or worrying about what's coming next. Very little can be done about the past and worry is a waste of time. Here the Kentucky poet Wendell Berry gives himself over to nature.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things" from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group ( All rights reserved. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Poetry Writing Prompt:

Wendell Berry ends his poem, "I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

What is the grace of the world to you?  Write about the grace of the world as it relates to nature with a poem titled, "The Grace of the World."

Fiction Writing Prompt:

Write a scene where a character discovers some peace in something wild, something from nature.  What was the conflict the character was facing, and how did nature bring him or her to ease?  Show us all that in your writing.

Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompt:

Pick something in nature you truly enjoy and write about how it enriches your life.


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