Ginsberg Writing Prompt


Write about a group of your friends (yourself included if you wish) or any other group of people you know, or about a group of people that you don’t know but imagine. 

  • Try writing in very long lines. Make each line a certain scene in these people’s lives—a scene typical more of the way they all act than of how just one of them acts—on the street, at a dance, in a living room, on a bridge, in a vacant lot, in a car, in a drugstore, at the movies, at a party, in a classroom. 
  • Exaggerate everything these people do together and completely leave out the lives they live separately. 
  • Give the names of streets, towns, hangouts, everything, crowding into every line many details of the scene. 
  • However inconsequential the things they do may seem at certain times, you might try making the poem heroic, acting as if everything they do is part of some pilgrimage, some mission. 
  • Don’t worry about punctuation or connections or making perfect sense; more important is the excitement, the putting together of great lists of vivid, harsh, particular details. 
  • Make their thoughts, beliefs, their talk part of the scene you describe.