Maureen’s husband—just like mine would have done–drifted into the bedroom once or twice, apologizing profusely, looking for a raincoat, a hat, and yet the poem held on, more or less down on the page by the end of the two hours, born amidst the sounds of living, as so much of a mother’s writing is….laptop in the kitchen, steam from the lentils on the stove wreathing the ceiling, the steady corrugated roll of scooters and tricycles on the deck outside. (She Dressed in a Hurry Live at Salome Magazine, Feral Mom, Feral Writer)
Today’s prompts are based on the elegy for Lady Diana, She Dressed in a Hurry (originally published at Salome Magazine and forthcoming in November Butterfly, November 1, 2014 from Saddle Road Press). The quote above celebrates the circumstances of arriving at the finished poem in a borrowed writing space back in 2009.
- Write about a space you borrowed in which to complete a poem. Or make a list of the locations in which you have written your work. Describe your ideal location for writing. Where do you actually write? Write about a time you endured an intense set of distractions to arrive at a draft of a poem or story.
- Read this definition for the term, elegy (at Poets.org). Peruse the links below for examples of poems written as elegies. Choose a person in your personal orbit (a family member) and choose a person in the public orbit from any point in history and write up an elegy for each. What do you notice about the difference between the elegies (what is different about writing an elegy for someone you know intimately vs. someone for whom you must imagine the intimacies)?
- Watch the video for She Dressed in a Hurry (photos by Robyn Beattie, Scriabin performed by Stephen Pryputniewicz) originally hosted as a guest post for The Mom Egg. Find the images that accompany the lines “duress of mistress”, and “inevitable rain” and “moment of impact.” The images are not literal representations, but were chosen to evoke an emotion. Take several lines of your own poetry and spend the week looking for visual representations aligning with the emotional tenor of your elegy, either taking your own photographs or taking “word snapshots” by describing the image.
Write for at least twenty minutes without censor and share your exercise or any thoughts about your writing process in comments below. Or add links for us to visit along any topic line inspired by the exercise.
Kathleen Ossip (Elegies…for Amy Winehouse, Steve Jobs, Troy Davis, Lucian Freud, Donna Summer) Poetry Foundation
To An Athlete Dying Young A.E. Housman Poets .org
From Feral Mom, Feral Writer:
She Dressed in a Hurry for Lady Di up at Salome Magazine (on process of making the photo poem montage)
Laundry Line Divine, where Suzi Banks Baums curates conversations and blogposts from mothers writing often under duress, celebrating the wildness and the stubborn perserverance of such mother writers where you’ll find sections such as Out of the Mouths of Babes: Motherhood and Creativity, Powder Keg Sessions, Rampant Sisterhood: Authentic Voices Engaged online.