At the latest Jersey City Writers Genre Night, which featured selected poetry, Claudia Cortese (pictured) gave me a great idea for a poetry prompt. She wrote a Mad Libs poem, which was fun to fill out in person at the reading. If you never played with Mad Libs as a kid, they are basically paragraphs where you blindly fill in blanks with nouns, verbs, and adjectives… you often get unexpected combinations, resulting in hilarity. I’m not going to assign an entire Mad Libs poem, but I am encouraging you to Mad Libs the title of your next poem, like this: The (Animal) Calls the (Type of Person) (Adjective). You don’t have to fill in the blanks blindly, as you would a regular Mad Lib, but think about an interesting scene to paint: The Frog Calls the Princess Beautiful (I wrote a poem titled this); or The Elephant Calls the Plumber Serpentine (think of the possibilities—sure the plumber uses a “snake” but couldn’t you call the elephant’s trunk serpentine as well?). Think about what the animal tells the person, and describe how the person receives this judgment.
For the second prompt this week, I’m going to encourage you to write a poem in response to Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge this month. Ekphrasis is poetry written about or in response to art. Rattle is a great journal that offers up a challenge once a month to write a poem about a piece of art (for a possible prize! Due April 30!). For an example of an ekphrastic work, read William Blake’s The Tyger, and check out the painting he made alongside it. Enjoy the prompts, and keep writing!