William Carlos Williams

Writing Prompt (from Kenneth Koch's Sleeping on the Wing)

There are probably many things which you like but which you don't think are important enough to write poems about, or maybe even to talk about-- things you like to wear or think of or look at which are generally not considered at all beautiful or inspiring. Almost always, people can think of a place, for instance, where they like very much to be, although they may not be able to say exactly why-- perhaps a place where they can be alone just to think or daydream, a certain part of a yard or a park, a room, a particular beach. Maybe it's a place you have only been to once-- someone's garden or a hotel room where you stayed during a vacation.

Write a poem about such a place. Be very simple and particular. Make it all just the place, nothing extra-- no memories, feelings, ideas. Close your eyes and imagine you're there. What do you see first? What afterward? You might put down different details of the place just in the order you remember them, one in each line. Describe them all in the plainest way. Use short lines and leave spaces. It will probably be a better poem if you don't try to make a point and if you don't try to make it 'poetic'. A good title might be the name of the town or the road where the place is.