The Poetry Project

Writing Prompts

Betsy Fagin

Writing exercises for when it feels like an emergency:

-Cultivate present moment awareness– deliberate, non-judgmental, bare attention to the now. Write from that place: what you can discern through your senses right now, in this very moment? What do you see,
hear, feel, taste, smell? Not thoughts or ideas, you're the scribe of direct experience, what's happening now? And now, and now?

Inhabiting that awareness, write to and from the body (personal body, body of the earth, fear body, grief body, body electric) &/or body parts.

-Too anxious to generate new material? Write into or from (take a line, phrase, words, ideas, anything you like) this poem or any other text or song that you like.

-Anything that supports moving beyond self-focus can be a useful path through emergencies. Finding and creating flow states, for example. Flow = a state of being completely immersed in a project or learning experience that challenges us.

-Write for 3 minutes without picking up your pen. I do mean write, not type. (I guess you could type if that's your thing.) Try to incorporate the sensations of the writing experience into the work. (How's your posture? How are your eyes feeling? Are you getting sweaty? Is trying to write new work stressing you out? Are you having fun yet?) Try 5 minutes.

-Try creating: collaging, chapbook making, drawing or painting without judgement around it, simply focusing on the pleasure of the experience.

-If none of that's working, ask what Bernadette Mayer would do & try that.

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

House Party #6