I’ve adapted today’s prompt from Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux’s handbook The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry, which I use in my introductory poetry class to teach important craft concepts such as image, metaphor, and description. It’s a fairly simple exercise–more of a starting point, really, from which to begin exploring deeper notions of presence, absence, and the manner in which memory “ghosts” poetic vision. Feel free to respond to the prompt as is, or elaborate upon/disregard its restrictions as you see fit.
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Think of a pair of old shoes. Describe them in a way that will make the reader think of death, but do not refer to death explicitly in the poem. If you wish, you may think of a specific pair of shoes that belongs to a specific person, but do not mention the person by name or indicate your relationship with them.