Writing the Sea” was definitely the most immediately effective at getting me to put pen to paper. I’ve always been drawn to water (*squints at blog title*), and Horowitz assembled an impressive array of historical and contemporary examples of poets inspired by stints along one New England shore line or another, including riverbanks and lake sides as well as ocean beaches. I’ll breakdown why this was such an effective workshop in my next post, but it certainly helped that she maintained an excellent balance between highlighting particular lines, themes, and commonalities within and among the poems with a set of great writing prompts. Even the simplest instruction to write a word bank of as many water-related words as we could, from any discipline, led to my dredging up words I haven’t used since I worked at the New England Aquarium. Some of them have a lot of evocative possibility: “pelagic,” “phytoplankton,” “undertow.” One of my favorite prompts was inspired by an Inuit form of poetry, in which the last word of the line becomes the first word of the next, and we were asked to write a flowing poem about rivers in a handful of minutes. This is my attempt, though in a second draft I think it would need more actual focus on the water as well:
On the Charles
I haul on the mainsail sheet,
the sheet that shivers in my hands,
these hands that rein the wind
winding through my city.
City buildings soaring high
and higher above their echoes,
echoing in slices under my hull.
Hull cupping me as I brace
the bracing wind, balanced on the mainsail.