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Sisters of the Orange, A Tale of Three Oranges: November Butterfly Poetry Prompt 5

Beattie & Pryputniewicz 3 Oranges November Butterfly

Between those trees, I first felt it / like dusk or the roil of the astral body down the thumbs-width tunnel between dreams: / The dark horse-bites of men’s glances—For the Love of Three Oranges, November Butterfly (Saddle Road Press, November 1, 2014)

Today’s prompts are based on the poem For The Love of Three Oranges (originally published by Spoon River Poetry Review). This persona poem steps into the landscape of the Italian fairytale, The Tale of Three Oranges. In one of the many versions, a witch imprisons three sisters inside of three oranges. A suitor wins rights to the hand of the first sister he can successfully free, binding her to him should she drink water to quench her thirst from his goblet.

Imagine the slick and sudden disorientation, the sensation of the suspension of one’s body amidst the vibrant cold globes of pulp. And the anguish of separation from one’s sisters. Would love between sisters trump distraction of suitor?

Today’s prompts:

  • Peruse the links below for inspiration. Step into the landscape of The Tale of Three Oranges. Choose to speak as witch, suitor, orange.
  • Extend the narrative: imagine into the life of the suitor after he wins the sister. What psychological/emotional/physical details can you conjure for his “new life” with a girl indebted to him for breaking the spell, for binding her to him in this way?
  • Choose another fruit—in other versions of this fairytale, lemons, pomegranates, and lions figure. Or speak as the tree or root source for the fruit.
  • Get your hands on a fairytale collection. Look for a fairytale you haven’t read before. Choose a peripheral character and retell the story from their point of view.

Write for twenty minutes without censor; share any portion of your writing with us in comments below, or comment about your process of writing to the prompts.

Related Links: small jpg November Butterfly

Reflections on Narrative Research on the Example of The Tale of Three Oranges by Christina Shojaei Kawan, PDF

Bolshei Theater’s Synopsis of Prokofiev’s satirical opera, The Love for Three Oranges

On YouTube: Paris National Opera of the Ballet, Amour des trois Oranges

Playwright Hillary DePiano explains the lineage of the inspiration for her play:

Carlo Gozzi’s The Love of Three Oranges was not an opera, nor was it based on one


Photo heading this post by Robyn Beattie from our forthcoming photo poem montage to accompany For the Love of Three Oranges, scheduled for completion by November 1, 2014 when the poetry collection, November Butterfly, officially launches (cover photo Robyn Beattie, cover design, Don Mitchell, Saddle Road Press).



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