Day 23: Dear…

Today’s exercise, based on Melissa Kwasny’s “The Lyric as Letter” in Wingbeats II, builds on the narrative tasks of the past few days: Write a letter. Write several letters. Turn your problem poems into letters. In a perfect world, or another time-frame, these would be written over a couple of days.

Her examples include Ezra Pound’s “The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” and the poems in Richard Hugo’s 31 Letters and 13 Dreams.

Epistolary poems are especially helpful because you know you you’re talking to. And, by association, you know more about who is speaking.

Write the letters in sequence.

Date them. Place them in a specific locale. Include stories–you really know this person, and you share memories.

Allow digressions.

Don’t worry about ending the poem. You can leave it open, because there will be another.