NAPOWRIMO 2020 – Prompt 29

By on Apr 28, 2020 in Featured, Poetry

Robin drawn on a sidewalk in chalk

April is National Poetry Writing Month, and many poets like to challenge themselves to write a poem a day. With that in mind, Wild Violet will be sharing poetry prompts each day: one geared towards adults and one for kids. 

If you write a poem based on this prompt, feel free to share a link to your poem, or the poem itself, in the comments. Poems appearing in the comments are not considered published in Wild Violet, and you retain all rights to your work. 

 

Writing a Letter

For adults:

On social media recently, many people have been taking the time to tell people things they appreciate about them. Perhaps it’s because of the extra time on our hands as much of the world has been on pause for months, waiting out the coronavirus pandemic. What a perfect time to finally tell people some of those things we think to ourselves but often forget to express aloud. Today, write a poem that can serve as a letter, either to a person or a group of people, saying something that you feel needs to be said. For examples, read “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” by Ezra Pound, “Letter to N.Y.” by Elizabeth Bishop and “Dear Angry Mob” by Joshua Beckman.

 

For children:

Poems often say something directly to the reader, but sometimes they are written with a specific reader or readers in mind. In other words, some poems read like letters written to a person or people. We call those epistolary poems. Write a letter poem using the following steps.

  1. Decide who you’d like to write to. Would you like to address someone in your family? Or a friend? Or someone you’ve never met? Or someone you read about in a book?
  2. Think about what you’d like to say to that person or people. You can write down a few thoughts if you like.
  3. Begin your poem with a greeting, which in a letter is called a salutation. You could make it sound personal and friend by using, “Dear (name)” or cold and professional by using “To (name).” Feel free to try out a different greeting instead.
  4. The central part of the poem should be your message. It can be short or long. Try to be specific.
  5. Conclude your poem with a closing phrase and your name. A closing phrase could be friendly, like “Love” or “Your friend,” or it could be more impersonal, like “Sincerely.” You don’t have to use your real name! You might choose, instead, to use something about you, like “The boy in the blue shirt” or “Your neighbor,” or “The girl with clouds in her eyes.”

Letter to a Robin

Dear plump robin,

     I love how you hop
like you’re playing a game
all by yourself. Then you tilt
your head to listen, as if 
waiting for directions. Hop
now. Forward, sideways,
across the sidewalk. Your
orange belly makes me grin.

Your friend,
   The woman taking out the trash

About

Alyce Wilson is the editor of Wild Violet and in her copious spare time writes humor, non-fiction, fiction and poetry, keeps an online journal, and is working on a book, Belated Mommy: How to Cope With Being an Older Mom. Her first chapbook, Picturebook of the Martyrs; her e-book/pamphlet, Stay Out of the Bin! An Editor's Tips on Getting Published in Lit Mags ; her book of essays and columns, The Art of Life; and her humorous nonfiction ebook, Dedicated Idiocy: How Monty Python Fandom Changed My Life, can all be ordered from her Web site, AlyceWilson.com. In late 2019, she published a volume of poetry by her third great-grandfather, Reading's Physician Poet: Poems by Dr. James Meredith Mathews, which also contains genealogical information about the Mathews family. She lives with her husband and son in the Philadelphia area and takes far too many photos of her handsome, creative son, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda.