Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Giving Voice To The Setting: A Poetry Prompt from Instructor Lucinda Marshall

In celebration of National Poetry Month, The Writer’s Center is sharing prompts from current and former instructors. This installment includes a prompt from Lucinda Marshall.

As authors, we often describe settings from our character's point of view. What happens if we flip that? For instance, if your character throws a pebble in the water, you might write: "The water was calm. Too calm for a day like this. Joe threw a pebble in the lake and watched it sink in the now rippled water. It felt so cathartic that he picked up a larger stone."

However, if this were written from the lake's point of view, you might write: "I saw the stone in his hand and knew what was coming. I braced myself, but then it hit, skimming and splashing a bit before it finally sank, and I waited in disgust for my calm to recover. Then I saw his arm swing into another pitch. It was going to be a long afternoon."

In this poem, I want you to write about the characters in your story from the point of view of the setting. Choose a character and a setting and then describe how the character feels about and/or acts in the setting. Then reverse their roles and describe the character's actions and words from the point of view of the setting.

Lucinda Marshall is an award-winning artist, journalist, and poet. Her poetry has been published in Sediments, River Poets Journal, Stepping Stones Magazine, Poetica Magazine, and ISLE. She co-facilitates the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club and is a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Women, Action, and the Media.

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