An update from our forty-eighth Writing Workshop with Conner Bassett
A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, November 5, plus some of the output published below
For this week's workshop, we focused on prose poetry, which we defined as a prose composition that demonstrates the logic and characteristics common to poetry. The first thing we did was a favorite exercise of Conner's: he asked that we try and write a "bad" poem.
After the exercise, we read "On the Train" by Lydia Davis, "The Mysterious Arrival of an Unusual Letter" by Mark Strand, "I Am the Last" by Charles Simic, "Man with Red Hair" by Daniil Kharms, and "Information" by David Ignatow. All of these prose poems we characterized as feeling like excerpts from larger stories, or the beginning of a short story—they felt like they should keep going.
The Challenge: Write a prose poem. If you feel stuck, write a story that feels like its an excerpt from a larger story but isn't. Or you could write the beginning of a short story but cut it off before it really starts going. Or, take the "bad" poem from the beginning of workshop and turn it into a longer prose poem.
The Participants: Allie, Emma, Anushka, Benedetta, Arjun, Tate, Robert, Aditi, Russell, Ella, Samantha, Alice, Josh, Anna, Savi
Emma Hoff, 10
An old photo, containing a memory. Aww, they say, beholding it. One day, it’s gone. They move on to another photo. Aww, they say again. It goes on like this, and, eventually, only the abstract painting is left. They study it. There’s silence. They hesitate. And then they say, aww. You dump salt on their heads as they walk into the kitchen and pet the frying pan. Everything is gone. The house is just a hollow box that you sit in. There are no walls, but you are enclosed by something. More and more of them come in. Aww, they say, patting your head.
I’m watching the man in the corner, sipping tea that I made for him. He doesn’t remember. He’s too busy watching it, and I don’t want to tell him who he really is - I’m also afraid. Every noise startles me, and I feel like I want to go back inside. It’s cold. The door is locked. I know he won’t hear me knock. I sit down on the steps, and suddenly, in front of me, there’s a pineapple. On one side of my head is a star, and on the other side is a bird. The Thing is gone. It didn’t really mean anything anyway. It was just a plot twist.