“What is the difference between the truth and what the characters are telling themselves?If I can figure that out, then things really start to crack open,” says Téa Obreht in a profile by Amy Gall in the September/October issue of about a question she poses to herself during the writing process.
, Thessaly La Force asks, “What should an artist save?
” while examining the eclectic archives left behind by artists, including boxes of fabric in Louise Bourgeois’s basement, a rejection letter addressed to Andy Warhol, and David Wojnarowicz’s “magic box.” Jot down a list of objects, physical spaces, and writings that you would consider integral to understanding the intersections of your life and work.
For many of us, the elevation in temperature and invitation to spend more time outdoors during the summer can usher in a flurry of changes—both atmospheric and emotional.
As Nina Mac Laughlin writes in her Paris Review summer solstice series: “In summer we tend skyward. We can stand outside when it’s dark and lift our faces to the sky and get spun back to childhood or swung into the swishing infinity above.” Write a poem that embodies this transformation.
What is hidden underneath this version of the story?
, Sara Martin writes about compulsively reciting Paul Celan’s poem “Corona” on first dates as a “beautiful but impersonal” way to expedite intimacy.What small, perhaps mundane, moments do you recall that have helped create a sense of belonging, support, and bonding?What would motivate you to walk thousands of miles?This week, write a poem you can imagine reciting to a new romantic prospect or lover, one that doesn’t necessarily dwell on traditional images or vocabulary of seduction but strives for a subtle sense of hope and urgency.What kind of language do you use to invoke an immediate intimacy?How can a different perspective provide new insights, emotions, and modes of thought?Write a poem that considers a familiar subject—perhaps one you’ve written about before—from a bird’s-eye view.Do problems arise when your characters unleash their creation?of animals, including flamingos, sharks, elk, whales, camels, hippos, and salmon, to discover beautiful shapes, colors, and patterns in nature.Even with such a limited population, isolated locale, and frigid temperatures, inhabitants establish a convivial sense of home and community with shared meals, silly rules, pig roasts, and game nights.Write a poem about a group of people that has provided you with a warm sense of community.