I got the chance to see Carl Dennis read his poem The God Who Loves You on Thursday night, at the Pulitzer Prize winners’ poetry celebration at Cooper Union. In this poem, we learn that one person has other potential futures which God can see. Listen to the poem and study it. What kind of God is this? What is the attitude of the “you” in the poem toward the alternate life, and what is the attitude of the seemingly omniscient narrator? How might you imagine an alternate future of your own, either for yourself or another persona? How might knowing about the alternative change the way your life is today?
How do you infuse a realistic tale with strands of fantasy? You may be familiar with Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. This week, I want you to explore writing a magical realist poem, where you offer some elements of fantasy without explanation, that only hint at meanings which your readers will discover. Maybe you’re writing about an office worker who ends up transforming into a philodendron that curls along the walls. Maybe a giraffe lowers its head to you at a zoo and tells you that it’s going to rain on your wedding day. For an example of this technique in a poem, read Alberto Rios’ A Man Then Suddenly Stops Moving.
Is there an injustice that exists in the world that makes you angry, spurs you to action? Perhaps your anger starts with a microaggression, but I want you to allow yourself to build on a small scene and allow your anger to progress in a way that the poem becomes larger than yourself. For an example, see Dylan Thomas’ Do not go gentle into that good night.