Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 30: Writing about the Hard Stuff

Image by Brandon Olterman 
Poetry can take us so many wonderful places. It can be beautiful, sweet, loving, and gentle. But that's not where I want us to go today.

On this, the eve of Halloween, I want us to play in the dark. Words have power. YOUR words have power. Take a moment and let that sink in.

YOUR         WORDS          HAVE          POWER.

In my own writing, I often take on difficult subject matter. I throw open the closet doors, drag out the skeletons, polish them with words, then prop them up on the porch for the world to see. There is incredible freedom in exposing darkness to light. Through poetry (and other forms of art) we can shed light on the dark places in our world and, in doing so, ignite small fires for change.

"A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."      ~ Salman Rushdie

"Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes."      ~ Joseph Roux

"A poem begins with a lump in the throat."      ~ Robert Frost

There are so many possible topics to consider here: child abuse, bullying, violence, addiction, terrorism, discrimination, pollution, eating disorders, mental illness, diseases, etc.

Be brave. Go into the dark. Choose a subject and expose it to the bright light of your words.

Here are some examples of issues exposed through dance to further inspire you:

Addiction - choreography by Mia Michaels

Bullying - choreography by Bonnie Story

Breast Cancer - choreography by Tyce Diorio

Child helping parent - choreography by Travis Wall

The Prompt: Choose a social issue that is important to you for your poem today. What calls your attention? Write from either a very individual and personal perspective or from a broad and global one.

Word Prompt: Social Issues

~ Amy McGrath


  1. I;m afraid I've strayed from the prompt though I have attempted to shed some light on a difficult subject. Dark social issues tend to depress me and I can do without that just now!

  2. Sexual abuse is often a topic I have written poetry about. Women and children issues are often close to my heart but I avoid blogging much about it as its tough to coin poetry on it.
    Thanks for giving the opportunity to try doing that again :))

  3. Thank you so much for this prompt. It gives mr the courage to finish the poem I started ladt night.

  4. Julie, i love this. *a poem begins with a lump in the throat*... such truth to this. We could say this about most of the arts... *a painting often begins with a lump in the throat*. A story. A dance. A song. And yes, like you, i also dare to give my darkness a voice sometimes, when i am feeling brave. Thank you for posting this, and for the wonderful writing prompts... xox

  5. I am loving this prompt Amy. If I had to choose just one of the quotes (I love all three), I would have to choose the first. It resonates so deeply. I am hoping to have a poem for this prompt by the end of today. I've been absent from her since my last prompt on Sunday. I am hoping to catch up periodically reading everyone's delicious poems from the month that I have missed.

    "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." ~ Salman Rushdie