Writing Prompts from #LaSoPANYC: “Buildings”
I teach poetry as a means of investigating the world. In metaphorical terms, writing a poem is a journey from home to somewhere else. How many times have you left your house to go somewhere? Countless times, right? That’s how many poems you are capable of writing in your lifetime—as many times as you choose to leave your house.
A writing prompt is simply one way of leaving, to get you past your front stoop and moving you toward your destination. The poem is everything that happens in between. Here are some poems, some prompts, and some questions to ask yourself as you write your own work.
Starting at Home: Story and Perspective as Taught by Gwendolyn Brooks.
Consider the poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, below: “kitchenette building.”
A building has apartments, dozens of separate rooms full of furniture or pipes or empty space. It contains multiple people with multiple perspectives. A building is also a thing that someone..well, had to build. It was put together by human beings with their own stories, too.
ASSIGNMENT: Write a poem about a building, or a house. It could be the place you live in. It could be a building you pass every day. It could be about the building you’re currently in. A school. A hospital.
As you write, use clear, descriptive, and/or figurative language to tell the story of:
1) The lives, dreams, and realities of the people inside. Name names, if you want to. Be specific.
2) The neighborhood the building occupies.
3) What it took to build, maintain, or beautify the building.
4) The scientific or mathematical principles that run the building.
5) What the building represents to you.
6) Anything the building conjures in your imagination.
7) What isn’t so obvious about it.
We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”
But could a dream send up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms
Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?
We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.
Link to commentary, audio
Participating in this writing prompt? Submit your entry for possible publication here on Sofrito For your Soul. Simply email us at EmergingVoices@SofritoForYourSoul.com and be sure to include the following;
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- Your piece (MS Word format)
- Headshot (highest resolution)
- 1 paragraph bio (including your social media profiles)
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The School of Poetic Arts (#LaSoPANYC) is an educational workshop series from Capicu Culture that provides a communal space dedicated to the development of artistic skill and exploring the core principles of theatrical and literary expression. Join us as the first official class of our Artist residency at The Loisaida Center, Inc! As artists and scholars from historically marginalized communities, we feel that it is important to create opportunities for our stories to be seen, read, and heard. La Sopa provides a platform for those voices to be supported and uplifted, increasing the proliferation of creative works across the artistic spectrum. Our time together, generating and editing works, launching new ideas and projects, is an inspirational way to end each week and begin anew. We look forward to the return of our previous participants, as well as the addition of new voices that will enrich the experience.