Saturday, July 24, 2010

Poetry Prompt #15 - Postcards


    The idea for this prompt came by a roundabout route. A week ago, I took a look at the longest poem I've ever written – fifteen stanzas and 75 lines about the town (Rahway, NJ) in which I grew up. It's also a poem about childhood and "going home again" (click here if you'd like to read it: "East Rahway"). Reading the poem again, and thinking about the heyday of youth, evoked a "wish I were there" feeling that reminded me of my Rahway postcard collection. As a kind of "adjunct" poetry project, I made a slideshow of the postcards (see slideshow below), which, in turn, led to this prompt. 

    You have several choices this week:

    1. Write a "wish you were here" poem. "Wish you were here" is the stereotypical postcard message. Is there someone you wish were here (with you) right now? Someone geographically distant? Someone deceased? Someone with whom you shared a special relationship? Someone you miss?
    2. Write a poem in the guise of a postcard (keep it postcard-sized). 
    3. Try writing a fantasy postcard message – from an exotic place, from a made-up place, from a place you know you'll never go, or (more challenging) from an emotional place.
    4. If you have an actual postcard (memento), write a related poem.
    5. Write a poem about why you "can't go home again."


    1. This prompt made me think of "Home is so Sad" by Philip Larkin, which may be read at:

      It also made me think of Maria Gillan's "How Many Ghosts Can Gather in One House?"

      Neither of these are "postcard poems," but both have a pictorial, postcard-like quality, as well as the sense of melancholy that this prompt evokes for me.

      The postcard slideshow is awesome! Thanks!

    2. Thanks, Bob! You're right – the poems you note do have a pictorial quality that "fits."

    3. Sometimes writing shorter poems is harden than writing long ones. This prompt inspired me to write several short postcard-like message poems to people I miss, people who are no longer in my life except in memory. It was a healing experience. Thank you!

      Kara G.