Today’s prompt comes again from The Daily Poet: “Write a poem addressed to an artist, living or dead. It can be an artist you admire or one whose work you do not particularly like.”

It can be any kind of art—painting, sculpture, music, dance, literature, or, as The Daily Poet points out, “cartoonist and creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening.”

What do you want to tell this artist? What do you want him or her to tell you?

Quick reminder: Reading tonight

I’m reading tonight at Edmonds Bookshop, with Lana Hechtman Ayers, David D. Horowitz, Christopher Jarmick, and Herb McClees.

Edmonds Bookshop, 6:30 PM
111 5th Ave S
Edmonds, WA

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We interrupt our regularly scheduled prompts to bring you this gem, courtesy of Bethany Reid, who in turn refers us to the Two Writing Teachers blog.

Take a few moments to think about your inner critic. Is he a real person from your past? Is she a Frankencritic, made up of several people you’ve heard from over the years? Or is your inner critic, that voice in your head, a product entirely of your own glorious imagination? What does he or she look like? What does he or she wear? How does he or she sound? From Two Writing Teachers, what kind of face does your Inner Critic make when you are writing and the critic is criticizing? Try making that face.

Now, write a letter to your Inner Critic and be however you want to be—you can be angry, you can be critical right back, you can acknowledge your critic’s good—if misplaced—intentions, you can treat your critic kindly. Just be as specific as possible.

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Today is the New York primary, and throughout this election season, I’ve heard voters say of a candidate, “He tells it like it is.” I think, “Hmm… He tells you what you want to hear.”

In the middle of the night, this inspired me.

Can you write a letter to someone, or to a group of people, telling them what they want to hear? Can you give the reader clues that this might not be what you really think? Can you pack the poem with huge contrasts, maybe some synesthesia, a lot of absolute statements?

Can you twist it at the end, let the recipients see your real motives, the way a sharp audience might observe the workings of a magician’s trick? Can you do it kindly?

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Today’s letter poem prompt comes from The Daily Poet:

Think about someone you liked but never really got to know. Maybe she or he died, or one of you moved or switched jobs after just a brief friendship, even a brief encounter. Maybe the person is the friend of a friend you met once, or someone you knew a little bit and learned a lot more about when you went to their funeral.

“Write a poem where you address this person. Share with her/him images of your favorite things and thing s/he never knew that were important to you. Be specific.”

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Today, it’s poet’s choice:

Write a letter to your country, as though the country were a person, without mentioning either the country or the person.

Or write a letter/poem/letter-poem to your state or province. This prompt is inspired by Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall’s call for submissions to Washington 129, an upcoming anthology of poems by people who live in Washington State. Today’s prompt could get you started.

For an example, see the “Dear Empire” poems from Post Subject: A Fable by Oliver de la Paz. Here’s one, and you can find more online.

Curiously, I found one that doesn’t quite fit either prompt, but it’s a pleasure to read: “Lilacs,” by Amy Lowell

Now it’s time to write!

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