Poem Challenge #1

At the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, a group of us poets decided to challenge each other with writing prompts for the rest of the summer. I’m going to include the prompts and my responses here on the blog, and I invite you to play along.

Our first prompt comes from a challenge Timothy Donnelly provided in his craft workshop, and it goes like this:

Write a poem with 12 lines in couplets, 9 to 13 syllables per line, as 1, cohesive sentence.

We’re going to modify this by relaxing the sentence requirement to a maximum of 4 sentences.

If you follow along, feel free to post a link to your response in the comments, and I will be adding my response to this post once its written.



Here is what I came up with, given a couple of hours and some space:


August, and the DC swamp weather is gushing
its embrace—heavy and moist—through every crack

in the walls which crumble maddeningly around
our ears with the sound of wet papier-mâché

smacking a table set for craft work
with implements everywhere, the metal form

paints brushes glue dowels and yesterday’s
front page on which the above-the-fold

went to the left-fielder splashing his face
with water and tossing his hair back

like a supermodel with lenses on her mind
in what must be a nicer weather pattern

and definitely nicer white sand beaches
and clear water of the Caymans,

and this is what they must mean by
the light of August.

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