Saturday, December 3, 2011

Writing Prompts with Poet Jessie Carty

This weekend, I'm thrilled to announce that our guest prompter is Jessie Carty, a poet from North Carolina.

First, read Jessie's poem, "An Amateur Marriage," from her soon-to-be released chapbook from Finishing Line press.  Then follow her directions for your prompt.

An Amateur Marriage by Jessie Carty
On Saturday we shop
First we frequent
one of the big box
electronics stores
and plan video cameras
for vacation
or big screen TV’s
for Superbowl Sunday
Before stopping at the home
improvement warehouse
On Sunday
we strip down
an old coffee table
and stain it
laying haphazard lines
of walnut
It takes hours to set

While we wait
I comb your hair
feeling your scalp
for the natural part
I trim around your ears
where the strands
have grown long
these last six months

Prompt from Jessie:

The word amateur is fun to play with. According to Wikipedia “An amateur (French amateur "lover of", from Old French and ultimately from Latin amatorem nom. amator, "lover") is generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science, without pay and often without formal training. Amateurism can be seen in both a negative and positive light. Since amateurs often do not have formal training, some amateur work may be sub-par. For example, amateur athletes in sports such as basketball, baseball or football are regarded as having a lower level of ability than professional athletes. On the other hand, an amateur may be in a position to approach a subject with an open mind (as a result of the lack of formal training) and in a financially disinterested manner. An amateur who dabbles in a field out of casual interest rather than as a profession or serious interest, or who possesses a general but superficial interest in any art or a branch of knowledge, is often referred to as a dilettante.”

Think of how I use it in the poem, and what implications come with the idea of an amateur marriage. Now write your own poem or story about an amateur something. Maybe make something amateur that you wouldn’t think of being amateur.

BIO: Jessie Carty is the author of five poetry collections including the upcoming chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line Press, 2012) which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize. She teaches at RCCC in Concord, NC. You can find her editing Referential Magazine or blogging at

Jessie's most recent chapbook “An Amateur Marriage” is now on pre-order from Finishing Line (  Jessie says, "I didn’t write the poems in any particular order. I, in fact, didn’t realize I was writing these poems about marriage until I had about 10 completed."


  1. Thanks for the compliment, Delores. Glad you like it.

  2. Look forward to seeing what people come up with! Each Friday we do a poem/writin share at my website :)

  3. thank you, Jessie!

  4. Great prompt and poem, Jessie! :)


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