The Poetry Project

Writing Prompt

Judah Rubin

This prompt is inspired by the focus of Judah Rubin's workshop, The Vocal Trace

Sarah Schulman reads in this recording from her 1990 book People in Trouble. While listening to her, take time to consider the question of the precarity of life, the grief you may be feeling, taking note of specific details even and especially when they are decoupled from fully formed images in your mind.

Make a list of those objects, characteristics, descriptions. Carry the list with you.

For the next week, or for the next month, or for the rest of your life, try to remember items from your list, which you can, of course, add to: this exercise is not confined to Schulman’s reading, or to the realm of fiction. Write these objects, adjectives, fragments down as best you can remember, adding description, or fitting them into sentences, into actions, into drawings, etc.

You may wish to meditate on the following while you write:

What will it take now and going forward to listen to and to act from grief, from rage, and from sadness? How can we act as witnesses to the lives of our friends, neighbors, strangers? How can the way we narrativize loss produce a space for activism?

Submit your responses, epistles, and poetic experiments to HOUSE PARTY to be considered for publication in an upcoming issue here.

House Party #10