& the poet Claire Wahmanholm on the basics of language
Oh my - what a delicious prompt! I opened the dictionary to E and what a treasure trove of possibility - here goes but I will want to tweak and refine and that will take time and tending but wanted to put my starting point out there. My Ode to E.
Ever eager to elicit exacting essence from existence.
Can I eke out the erstwhile exhilaration?
Is equilibrium enough?
The eventual ease of eventide .
Sharing in a society of selflessness as opposed to selfishness would either make me soar or realize it’s just a symbolic sense of the dreamer within my soul.
I love this idea of picking a letter and constructing a poem around it. I've been mulling over this idea for a while - using the letter zee:
Zelda admired her garden
of purple and pink azaleas.
consider gifting her
a zebra from his next safari?
Good day, I feel so blessed that I found ‘The Isolation Journals’,. You are such a talented and brave young woman. The storytelling is emotional, complex, and humorous. As I am reading- I am smiling with tears in my eyes-really spiritually moving. Thank you and I am definitely getting your book!
I resonated with this: reminds me that you can make connections out of anything: there are far more ways to be alike than different. Will try creating a poem from the letter s. Should be interesting. Thank you
For the past week or so, a bird has been pecking at our sliding glass doors in our sunroom . . . he came to mind when I read this week's prompt. My grammar & vocabulary are not the best but I will join in on the fun!
Robin red-breast, radiant amongst raindrops repelling on rapid raptor wings, recklessly and repetitively rapping and rat-a-tat-tating at your relentlessly ribbing, never retreating reflection. Unreasonably roiling and riling, ruthlessly raiding your rival again and again, repeatedly you return, rudely resolute, you refuse to relinquish your range. Rage on, dear Robin, we revere your unremitting resolve!
Two letters came to me, "E and N" so I decided to go for it:
Everywhere and Nowhere
Evening and Night
Escaping the dark
Okay, so the last line SHOULD have read "Narc" but that would have ruined the message/tone of what flowed through me. Damn, I am such a rule bender. I really enjoyed this writing stretch-it made me have "Yoga Mind" and I needed it!
The word between has always fascinated me. When you used that particular word in the title of your book I immediately wanted to read your story. That space between. Where everything happens.
I am listening to you read Between Two Kingdoms in the audiobook version, and I just heard you describe your visit with Max at his home in LA (I was so relieved when you decided to go see him! :) So I am very happy to see Max mentioned in this week’s newsletter as a reminder to myself to check out some of his poetry.
I really love these story threads that pull through and extend the experience for your readers, making it more intimate and immediate. I am very grateful to you, Suleika. Thank you.
What a great prompt! I’m loving reading all the poems Claire has linked for us, even signed up for a poem a day email. I appreciate now how poetry slows you down a bit....I will get out my collection of dictionaries! I have three family volumes that my children actually asked me recently why I was keeping🤷♀️. Not sure what letter to focus on...
I love your writing, Suleika! I keep a big antique dictionary just under my perch on the couch and my encylopedia of Folkore, Mythology, and Legend on the side table just in reach. J'aime bien le Franglais aussi! (Pardon my French!)
What a fun prompt! I’m not a big dictionary gal but I love the thesaurus, for when I know what I want to say but need to say it differently.
I feel badly because I kind of skipped todays prompt. I started writing words but my brain is all over the place today. Also I need to use a real dictionary it internet so I can rifle through pages. It’s a great prompt and I need to just let the words take me. Hopefully out of my comfort zone. I need to get unstuck. When I get something in writing and it’s not ghastly I’ll share.
Thank you Claire and Suleika. Reading this week’s prompt has taken me across time to when I worked in pre-press at our family’s print shop. My dad was a master of turning a phrase, and also making up nonsense words for everyday things. He called peanut butter Op-e-nopiter. My name is Peggy, but I go by Peg, and more often than not, he called me Gep Gep, which was Peg spelled backwards.
Suleika, I love that you have other languages with which to express yourself. That sounds like such a gift to me. The loss of two dear friends in the face of catastrophic illness elevates those profound friendships into the cosmos, to my way of thinking.
Thank you to everyone who replied here, and to you, Claire, for the encouragement of writing a poem from words that begin with one letter. I’m going to try that. And to you, Suleika, for your brutal, beautiful honesty in what you write. I love you, girl. ♥️
And finally, to realize everything in today’s prompt, and all of the responses were written with just the 26 letters of the alphabet. Incredible.
I'm not sure if this is a place to pose a question rather than just comment but as I read the prompt about shaping the words into a poem, I wondered how you would define a poem? It seems to be such a broad area involving so many diverse forms of writing.
Delicious prompt, and loved the examples from Claire. I am reminded of the book review my daughter wrote in high school, responding to V is for Vendetta. She used the same idea, sprinkling her essay with as many V words as she could. The teacher didn't even comment, but the writer (and her mom) were amused.