Poetry for All: Video Writing Prompts
The “Poetry for All” video series is a short, online version of the free poetry writing workshops that Elizabeth Austen gave all around Washington state. Each video combines a model poem with a writing activity, and is intended to be useful to the poetry-curious and beginning writers alike. Many thanks to the featured poets for permission to use their poems and to Sheila Farr and John Helde for essential technical help.
Prompt 1: A Memorable Meal
This prompt features Li-Young Lee’s poem “Eating Together,” from Rose (BOA Editions).
Prompt 2: A Visitation
This prompt features Peter Pereira’s poem “Twenty Years after His Passing, My Father Appears to Us in Chicago, at Bobby Chinn’s Crab & Oyster House, in the Guise of Our Waiter, Ramon” from What’s Written on the Body (Copper Canyon Press).
Prompt 3: Desire
Prompt 3 features “Desire, Like a Hungry Lion” by Dorothy Trogdon from her collection Tall Woman Looking (Blue Begonia Press).
Prompt 4: The Sensory World
William Stafford’s poem “Starting With Little Things” is the model poem for prompt 4. It’s in Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems (Graywolf Press).
Prompt 5: Call and Response
This prompt features Ellen Bass’s poem “The World Has Need of You” from Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press).
Li-Young Lee, “Eating Together” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.
Peter Pereira, “Twenty Years after His Passing, My Father Appears to Us in Chicago, at Bobby Chinn’s Crab & Oyster House, in the Guise of Our Waiter, Ramon” from What’s Written on the Body. Copyright © 2007 by Peter Pereira. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Dorothy Trogdon, “Desire, Like a Hungry Lion” from Tall Woman Looking. Copyright © 2012 by Dorothy Trogdon. Used with the permission of the author and Blue Begonia Press.
William Stafford, “Starting With Little Things” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright © 1987 by William Stafford. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Ellen Bass, “The World Has Need of You” from Like a Beggar. Copyright © 2014 by Ellen Bass. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Poetry Recommendations for Book Groups
Elizabeth Austen began this list during her term as poet laureate; she did so as a resource to help book groups who often read a wide array of literary fiction and nonfiction but are unsure about where to start with poetry. I’ve added a few selections to Elizabeth’s list, and I would certainly value recommendations from others! Elizabeth also recommends A Poet at Your Table, a program that connects book groups with local poets.
Betting on the Night by Dennis Held
Plume by Kathleen Flenniken
The Book of Light by Lucille Clifton
The Grace of Necessity by Samuel Green
What The Living Do by Marie Howe
19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye
Every Dress a Decision by Elizabeth Austen
Fast Animal by Tim Seibles
The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden by Stanley Kunitz with Genine Lentine
How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry by Edward Hirsch
Red Studio by Mary Cornish
Book of Hours by Kevin Young
Here, Bullet by Brian Turner
Native Guard, by Natasha Trethewey
Tall Woman Looking by Dorothy Trogdon
In Orbit by Kim-An Lieberman
Oh How Can I Keep on Singing? Voices of Pioneer Women by Jana Harris
Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon
Picnic, Lightning by Billy Collins
Of Gravity & Angels by Jane Hirshfield
Kyrie by Ellen Bryant Voigt
The House of Belonging by David Whyte
Smoke by Dorianne Laux
The Cartographer’s Tongue by Susan Rich
Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith
Rose by Li-Young Lee
Split Horizon by Thomas Lux
Present Company by W.S. Merwin
The Wellspring by Sharon Olds
American Primitive by Mary Oliver
Saying the World by Peter Pereira
Lighthead by Terrance Hayes