Saturday, April 28, 2012

Prompt #98 - Looking Out, Looking In

Before beginning the prompt for the first week of May, I extend my sincerest thanks to all the poets and readers who visited "The Music in It" and who posted their poems and thoughts throughout April. You all made National Poetry Month a richer celebration because of your sharing! (Special thanks go to Basil for posting poems based on the inspiration words every day!)

If there were no poetry on any day in the world,
poetry would be invented that day.
For there would be an intolerable hunger. 

– Muriel Rukeyser

Now … imagine yourself in a room: you stand in front of a window and look out. What do you see? What are the actual things in your line of sight? What metaphorical images do the actual things suggest? Is the window open or closed? Do you lean on the sill? Do you feel the sill’s wood under your elbows? Do you touch the window glass with your hand, arm, or face? Is it cold or warm? How does what you see compare with what you’d like to see? What does the window symbolize for you? Do you take a step back and see your own reflection looking at you? Now imagine yourself standing outside and looking in through a window. What does the outside feel like in comparison to what you see inside? Do you see people? How do they relate to one another? Do you feel left out? Why? How is this “looking in” a metaphor? What about the window itself: is the glass clean, dirty, clear, smudged, tinted, broken?

In workshops with students I use a prompt dealing with windows and ask the students to write a poem entitled “When I Look Out My Window I See.” I tell the students that their window views may be real or imaginary. I encourage them to be creative, to fantasize, to use the window as a vehicle to describe home, family life, school, relationships, or to use the window as a means of seeking, defining and clarifying (looking back, looking to the future). Often, the poems are quite extraordinary. Of course, you know where I’m going with this prompt – the same suggestions apply but you will, of course, approach the writing with your adult perspective. Look through a “window” (real, imagined, symbolic, metaphorical, or in a dream) and create a poem.


(Remember prompt #53 in which this poem was the model?)