“For better or worse, the moon seems to exert a powerful hold on poets, as this large collection of moon-themed poems suggests. Today, I’d like to challenge you to stop fighting the moon. Lean in. Accept the moon. The moon just wants what’s best for you and your poems. So yes – write a poem that is about, or that involves, the moon.”
Gaelic in origin, Barry probably means good enough, if not boring, dull, or quick to bail on patriarchal pursuits, as I gave up on reading the bone-dry etymology four sentences in.
That’s a half-truth, but even patrons who came up with it felt it was good enough, surrendering midway, saying it might mean “fair-headed, or maybe an Irish spear? Hell’s bells, I dunno; why ask me? Fuck you.”
Ask momma and she’d tell you that it means sweetie; ask grandma and she’d reply with stanka; ask anyone else and you’ll get other truthy-sounding observations.
The only important part is that I’m the fourth of my name, third to serve in the armed forces, second known to wildly wield sarcasm as a melee weapon, and first to clearly see the maze as well as my iron-clad limitations within.
Dawson means son of David, and David means beloved; loved by God, amen. Therefore, biblically-speaking, I guess that makes me a bit of a legacy kid, amen.
Favor onto me, descendent of slave and master, origin muddied, traced back to great divide, to Mississippi riverbed and no further, no deeper shall we tread.
In truth, all that can be gleaned from the name means it is unique enough to be known and when spoken in general earshot, I will know it is me you are seeking.
‘I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at this poem by Mark Wunderlich, appropriately titled “Wunderlich.”’
“Today’s prompt comes from the Instagram account of Sundress Publications, which posts a writing prompt every day, all year long. This one is short and sweet: write a poem in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow.”
Another wait-n-see casualty epitaph-inscribed ellipses waking-sleep at the wheel watching his own eclipse from hermetically-sealed airlock objects in motion retain commotion unless acted upon by aging’s gravest drag and gravity fills complacency’s cavity feeble Van-Winkle-eyes strain and fail to read a copious account of all the proper names speeding past his bleeding orbit of last gasps and fading oxygen until there’s null
“This is a twist on a prompt offered by Kay Gabriel during a meeting she facilitated at the Poetry Project last year. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response. These can be as short or long as you like, in the form of prose poems, or with line breaks – and of course, the subject matter of the letters is totally up to you.”
“The fun of this prompt is to make it the “to-do list” of an unusual person or character. For example, what’s on the Tooth Fairy’s to-do list? Or on the to-do list of Genghis Khan? Of a housefly? Your list can be a mix of extremely boring things and wild things. For example, maybe Santa Claus needs to order his elves to make 7 million animatronic Baby Yoda dolls, to have his hat dry-cleaned to get off all the soot it picked up last December, and to get his head electrician to change out the sparkplugs on Rudolph’s nose.”
“I call this one “Return to Spoon River,” after Edgar Lee Masters’ eminently creepy 1915 book Spoon River Anthology. The book consists of well over 100 poetic monologues, each spoken by a person buried in the cemetery of the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. Not a famous person, necessarily – perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood, like the gentleman who ran the shoeshine stand, or one of your grandmother’s bingo buddies.”
Obviously, I didn’t follow the prompt because it gave me the creeps (I tried, but it gave me all of the “yips” if you get my meaning), but I’m still sharing the prompt along with a link to the book because it was an intriguing and innovative idea, though yes, also a very creepy one. I read some of the poems and it’s ingenious in a macabre way how they all seem to fit together.
Though I didn’t do the prompt, I leaned into the shivers I got from trying by writing dual-mirrored cinquains on what felt like adjacent subject matter. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go sage my laptop.
“There are many different poetic forms. Some have specific line counts, syllable counts, stresses, rhymes, or a mix-and-match of the above. Of the poetic forms that are based on syllable counts, probably the most well-known – to English speakers, at least – is the Japanese form called the haiku. But there are many other syllable-based forms. Today, I’d like to challenge you to pick from two of them – the shadorma, and the Fib.”
I’ve dabbled with the shadorma a few times, but I cannot recall ever trying a Fib, so naturally, I went with the unknown to see if I could make a new friend of it. The Fib is a fun, light form that seems made for nostalgia.