Today’s Impromptu prompt over at Found Poetry Review comes from Noah Eli Gordon. Well, actually 10 prompts. You can see his suggestions (and poems by the other participants!) here at FPR.
So, #1 sounds like a fun challenge, but I can’t see dining and recording the conversation of seven friends, then transcribing it and still writing a poem before midnight. #2 was in a similar vein, but I needed to find 100 friends who’d have a fave anecdote about me… yeah, that isn’t happening today either (do I have 100 such friends?) Those prompts both seemed like something from Kenny Goldsmith, I think. And beyond the scope of what I can achieve today. But something to keep in mind. #4, maybe, taking all my inbox emails and removing the mail addresses (personally addressed ones though, no forwards, no listserv stuff) but would it be a poem? #10 is funny, find and contact someone with the same name as Harvey Keitel and then ask him repeatedly for comments on his roles, to the point of making him on edge. And then transcribe it. Oh, not done then, now you pitch it to mainstream media, then compile responses to your pitches and to the interview, and transcribe THAT into a work….well that’s another longtermer and not the kind of thing I do now.
I may try some of the others later on, but for today I decided on the sonnet, long enough to be a challenge and to offer some opportunities for quirk.
Here’s the prompt: #5: Write a sonnet in the modern key:
Line 1: narrate action, include at least two nouns
Line 2: ask a question without using “I”
Line 3: make a statement without saying “I”
Line 4: now say “I” in another statement
Line 5: use a fragment
Line 6: narrate another action, include one of the nouns from line 1
Line 7: ask a question using “I”
Line 8: use a fragment that
Line 9: spills into the next line
Line 10: now say “I” and include the other noun from line 1
Line 11: answer your first question
Line 12: make a statement that is in total opposition to line 3
Line 13: combine phrases from lines 5 and 8 here
Line 14: answer your second question
And my attempt:
Wind howls through dim alleys—
What price the snows of early April?
No birds sing in this early spring storm.
I hear grey sadness in the voices of the wind.
A trick of the ear.
The alleys between these houses narrow to deadends.
Am I the only one to hear their music?
Their hollow echoes, their blank walls, not
even the mockery of graffiti–
I hear the wind in all its many voices.
The brave green shoots of budding plants lie dead with cold.
Outside my window, the robin’s cheerful song.
A trick echo glances off hollows in the walls.
And I am the only listener.
Carol A. Stephen
April 6, 2016