Poetry Prompt 2 — Who is speaking?

A poem doesn’t have to be true and it doesn’t have to be about you.

It is refreshing to see the world through another person’s eyes and tell their story.

Write a poem in the voice of an ancestor, a friend, an imagined character or someone famous.

Pay attention to the dialect and speech patterns of this person.  This prompt can be combined with Poetry Prompt 1- being aware of the audience.  Who is he or she speaking to specifically?   These poetic monologues can be dynamic and surprising.  My favourite collection of poetic monologues is Spoon River Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters.  He gives voice to all the characters from a small town— speaking from the grave about their lives.

I wrote the following after leading a guided meditation to one of my writing classes. We imagined

a stranger with a story to tell and this character, Leonora, popped up with quite an attitude.

Leonora’s Revenge

I giving you the evil eye

you be cursed now

little rooster man

just try and strut

with one withered leg

and two withered nuts

you run around on me

you gonna pay

ain’t no accident

your car slide

down the bank

last man did that to me

his house burnt to ash

I knows what you is up to

don’t go telling no lies

I can sniff you out

in any drinking hole

gambling my money

and when you go to touch

your wallet

it strikes

like a rattlesnake

and you a quivering on the floor

like you in a fit or somethin’

ain’t no sorry’s gonna save

you now, rooster man,

your hen done flew the coop.

Laura Jan Shore from Breathworks

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