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December 08, 2015


What great ideas for writing prompts. I will definitely try these with my students.

I agree with Marissa. These ideas are excellent. I have long felt that the single best thing a young poet can do is to write imitations of masters. (Next best: to write in form.) The imitated authors should feel flattered, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery -- and I can see why the students are attracted to the poets you cite (Bishop, Hass, Jackson). Nice to have you on board, Tess. -- DL

Thank you for these kind comments. Naturally, when my students do emulation exercises, they always include "After (insert poet's name)..." in the title to credit the source of inspiration. We do fixed verse as well, villanelles, sestinas, etc. Both the emulations and the form poetry give the flailing new poet scaffolding on which to hang their own images and ideas. It's akin to the young artist learning to mix colors or a musician practicing scales. We all stand on the shoulders of others, yes? Thank you, BAP, for this chance to share.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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