Some poetry prompts at The Found Poetry Review:

“Every day this April, nearly 80 poets will write one poem per day by applying constrained writing techniques sourced from the Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle — or “workshop of potential literature”) group.”

(It’s a bit late to join officially, but the blog posts are great prompts.)

Here is the first post: Oulipost #1: Quote Cento.

Today’s (#24): Homosyntaxism.

Here is the blog feed for all posts.

And! Here is a wonderful article about Oulipo, in the Believer: Oulipo Ends Where the Work Begins: A Weekend in Four Constraints.


Two Poetry MOOCS

Are you a fan of MOOCS? Do you know what a MOOC stands for? I did, but I forgot so I had to google it again.

It stands for “Massive Online Open Course.”

So here is one that I saw pop up that looks interesting: How Writers Write POETRY. That’s in CAPS there because there’s a fiction one also.

This June, the University of Iowa offers its second massive open online course: [aha!] How Writers Write POETRY. Six weeks of craft discussions and workshops online. Free and open to all.

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I’ll be giving it a look.

Last year I sat in on Al Filreis’ “Modern and Contemporary American Poetry” at the University of Pennsylvania, offered via Coursera. That one starts in September. Highly recommended. I thought it was terrific. Read about it and register here.

There are lots of MOOCS around, for almost anything. These are the only two poetry ones I know of though. If you know of any others, post them here. ..

Ann Howells Reviews Terry and Hunter

Two Micro-reviews of Texture Books by Guest Blogger Ann Howells

Rina Terry
Cardboard Piano

Texture Press (2013)

This collection, written by former prison chaplain Rina Terry, presents the varied voices of men in the system, opening with the poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Inmates,” which offers a panoramic overview of what is to come. It gives not only physical descriptions of inmates, Handcuffed and shackled/ shuffling, but of orientation, An inmate/ is an inmate/ is an inmate. It speaks in the voices of blues and prisoners in solitary confinement. No one is spared examination: not guards, nurses, wives, pen-pals, or, of course, inmates—some brutal, others merely ignorant or socially impoverished. Many poems are difficult to read like “The Counselor Dreams” in which an inmate rationalizes and swaggers his way through his life story.

                                                                        I had
my first child when I was a child, right, you know
what I’m sayin’, right Rev; I shot my first person
when I was . . . should I be tellin’ you this? You said
it’s in confidence right? Well, she did the best she could
right? My mother, right, like I been tellin’ you,
she did the best she could, you know what I’m sayin’
and my little brother, he couldn’t do nothin’ wrong
and I couldn’t do nothin’ right . . .

Other poems are unbelievably poignant like “Whenever Two Or More Are Gathered . . .’ and “Cardboard Piano,” a truly unforgettable poem. These poems will lodge themselves in your mind, as persistent and uncomfortable as a fishbone in your throat.


Rose Hunter
You As Poems
Texture Press (2013)

Relying on image and an almost stream of consciousness intuition, Ms. Hunter’s poems employ subtlety, wordplay (pale/pail) and quotes from diverse sources (the turkey who lives on the hill from “The Owl and the Pussycat.”) Many contain word or short phrases in Spanish, either translatable through context or explained in a following line.

Perhaps my favorite poem, “You As Cockfight,” presents a man, Rooster, alongside the fighting cocks of Las Juntas. Descriptions of each seem to apply equally to the other. In many of Ms. Hunter’s poems, descriptions transfer easily from object to person to creature and back. We view the beloved not through the image of the object/place/creature, but as interchangeable with it. Readers must trust the poet and accept her leaps, as in “You As Levels” (… familiar eyes like a fish tank or measuring cup).

Written while Ms. Hunter resided in Puerto Vallarta, each poem views the beloved as a disparate object/creature/place. Not a book to be easily digested, each poem, with its strong use of metaphor and simile, unfolds slowly, revealing a bit more with each subsequent reading. Take time to savor these poems.

Ann Howells
Editor—Illya’s Honey

Ann Howells is a longtime member of Dallas Poets Community. She has served on its board since it incorporated, as president from 2009-2012. She has edited Illya’s Honey for fourteen years. In 2009, she took 1st place in The Legendary’s Bukowski Contest. She was a finalist in 2008 NavWorks Poetry Competition and in Southern Hum’s 2007 Women of Words. Her chapbook, Black Crow in Flight, was published by Main Street Rag (2007) and a limited edition chapbook, the Rosebud Diaries, by Willett Press (2012). In 2006, she took 1st in Southwest Writers’ Club Poetry Competition. She has had her work read on NPR (Atlanta) and been twice nominated for a Pushcart, once for a Best of the Web. Her work appears in many small press and university journals and anthologies, including Borderlands, Calyx, Crannog (Ire.), Free State Review, and RiverSedge.

Poetry Prompt (At Found Poetry)

Here’s a prompt I saw recently that I liked. It combines three things I love: Twitter, visual art, and poetry (not necessarily in that order):

“ART/140 a joint effort between the creative agency POSSIBLE and the Museum of Modern Art, asks web viewers to “share what you think about art.” The ART/140 website instructs users to choose one of the listed works of art and tweet what they think about it. Comments on Painterly Architectonic by Lyubov Popova range from simply “linoleum” to “Pile of Broken Glass in a Sunset on Mars.” I think you now know where I’m going with this.

Your task:

Peruse the lists of tweets for each work of art listed on the website. Remix into a poem. Share the poem in the comments here. Also, why not join the experiment? (Do so by following the ART/140 instructions and tweeting).”

Go here, for a full explanation.

In general the Found Poetry blog is full of interesting prompts and other stuff. Check it out!

popova                                            TWEET #ART140 #POPOVA

Photo Prompt (from Rose Hunter)

Often I use photos to help me write poems. I will probably have remembered the main point of the poem, but looking at photos can help me if I am stuck, or need to go in another direction – or just want to remember supporting details. Here are some photos I took recently on walks around my new neighborhood (in Mexico City). I am certain a couple of them will turn up in poems….

hotel garage 20S 2 buildings 20S 2 facade 20S basilica 30S
straw tires? 2 playground 20S

How I Write First Drafts (by Rose Hunter)

All of my writing these days comes initially from my journals. That’s how I started writing and that’s what I’ve gone back to it seems. A lot of it is awful, therapeutic writing, stuff I need to work through for my own sanity. I’ve heard this is not the way to do it I think, but it’s what I do. I keep it all in the same place but it’s pretty easy to tell what’s what.

So in my journal I write whatever I feel like writing, what is going on in my life and what is on my mind, etc., and every so often I’ll hit a patch that seems more interesting, and I’ll just keep writing that, across the page in the same way but maybe I’ll start putting in some forward slashes to indicate possible line breaks or to say that now I think I’m into a poem. I’ll keep writing along with that until it is out of juice or whatever happens and then maybe there will be a paragraph about something completely mundane, or anything that pops into my head, a complaint about a friend, something I see in the distance, whatever. I kind of just chat.

…I leap around. I don’t try to keep any thread or control it very much. Often I don’t finish a thought or idea before I skip to a different one and a different one again; I just go wherever I feel like although from time to time I’ll flip back and see, oh, what was I on about earlier, and then I’ll continue that, so bits of that idea might be on page three, and more on page five and finished on page ten. Or not….

When I feel like I’ve done enough I’ll look back at the pages and see what’s there. I take my blue (*important detail*) highlighter and mark off the poems that I think are there. There might be two or three possibilities. And then there is a whole lot of trash but I don’t make a judgement as to what’s what yet; I just highlight where I think the poems are and give them a working title, which will be some word in the poem most likely. I don’t think a lot about a title at this point because I don’t know what it’s about so much, I mean it’s just an inkling. If I labor over a title at this point what I come up with is almost always off-base, but if I just pick the most obvious word to remember the poem by, that’s often better and very occasionally that does end up being the final title since I also like simple titles and one word or thing-based titles. So I circle that word.

I might fill up an A4 notebook or two before I go back and see what’s there properly, and then at that point I’ll start pulling out the poems that still seem to have something, and put them in the computer. It’s a different thing that goes into the computer already, with bits of what was in the notebook, changed around, stuff added, a lot of stuff left out, etc. This is really the first draft I guess, when I put them in the computer. I’m pretty ashamed of my journal drafts/pre-drafts. They’re really embarrassing. I threw a lot of them out recently, in case I die suddenly and someone finds them. But now there are a bunch of new journal drafts because I’ve been writing quite a bit lately, and I have to keep them until I put them into the computer, so.

I also revise very extensively. So that the poems wind up a long way away from that initial journal start. For some reason it’s just the way that I like to start though, and that’s what I’m writing about here.

…Sometimes I’ll write and there aren’t any poems. That’s fine. It’s not good for me to try to write poems I think. It just needs to happen. It mostly does (I mean the attempt), because I enjoy putting words in that form.

I take a lot of photographs also, and I use them as prompts for the journal and first computer draft, to the extent that I remember them. When I get to a second draft, then I’ll often study the photo I’m thinking of more, to flesh out what I have or think of new things. But for the initial writing I’ll just go by memory. I probably remember the photo fairly well if it was one I liked, or if it had something interesting in it. If I look at the actual photo again too early I think I can get caught up in the details and don’t get the heart of it. If I write about it first from a strong memory I’ll get the heart of it, and then I can make it stronger by looking at the actual photo. That’s something I do a lot.

Here are a few of the photos I used as prompts in writing [four paths].

There’s a lot of that third photo in the poem “[intersection],” for instance.



Thanks for reading/looking!


Rose Hunter is the author of [four paths] (Texture Press 2012), and to the river (Artistically Declined Press 2010). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as EOAGH, Paper Darts, Doctor T.J Eckleberg Review, DIAGRAM, Bluestem, PANK, and Cordite. She  is from Australia originally and now lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She keeps a photo blog here.

four paths cover front cover only