Tips from the Bar: Between the Lines

Find a poem that you feel strongly about, either positively or negatively. Double space the poem, and write line
that connect the end of one line to the beginning of the next. (For example: “So much depends/upon/a red wheelbarrow,” becomes “So much depends/on the length of rope coiled/upon/the pile of manure in/a red wheelbarrow”), now remove the original poem, and you have a new poem (“On the length of rope/the pile of manure”). Yours will hopefully be better than the pile of manure.

Tips from the Bar: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens

Write the same sentiment thirteen different ways: “It was cold this morning,” “I woke up to a snowman leaning over my bed,” “This morning my thermostat registered Republican,” etc.

Tips from the Bar: the Patricia Smith Prompt

Think of the person who means the most to you in the entire world: not necessarily romantically, but someone you love with all your heart. Now, dress them for their funeral.

Tips from the Bar: the Big Fish Prompt

Write a family history for your future spawn, but make it historically inaccurate and filled with hyperbole.

Tips from the Bar: No Thanks, I’m Driving

Poetically turn down an invitation from someone.

Tips from the Bar: the April Ranger Prompt

Write a love letter to a fictional figure from literature (Tom Sawyer, Hester Prynne, The Grinch, etc.).

Tips from the Bar: the Cross Media Prompt

Write a love letter from a character from a movie, book, TV show, comic, etc. to a character from another media source. You may not write a love note back and forth between two media with the same foundation (i.e. Frodo from the Fellowship of The Ring movie to Sam from The Fellowship Of The Ring book, or from someone in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep to Blade Runner).

Tips from the Bar: the Birth of Written Language

Write about the first letter, word, sentence, or story ever written down.

Tips from the Bar: the Jonathan Safran Foer Prompt

“It’s always possible to wake someone from sleep, but no amount of noise will wake someone who is pretending to be asleep.”

Tips from the Bar: the Corine Hat Prompt

“A week after his wife died, my father wrote the first piece of writing he’d written in thirty-five years. As in, he hadn’t written letters, e-mails, journals, anything but grocery lists and reminders. Knowing this, his wife wrote her own eulogy, and a Death Letter (she’d been terminally ill for a while, so she’d prepared goodbyes for many of the people in her life), and left it for him to find. One of the things she mentioned was that she wished my father had written to people as easily as he’d talked to people. So my father took out an ad in the local paper and wrote a goodbye to his wife.”

Write something your father might write to you, had he not communicated with you for thirty-five years.