Weekly Prompt: Writing in “The Round”

This week’s prompt was inspired by a writing “pitch” developed by some of my poetry students.  Special thanks to them for their creativity and inventive work with image!

Photo courtesy of Auntie P

In Stanley Kunitz’s “The Round,” the speaker describes the light falling on a bed of roses in three different ways, each of which evokes a slightly different mood and set of images.

Light splashed this morning
on the shell-pink anemones
swaying on their tall stems;
down blue-spiked veronica
light flowed in rivulets
over the humps of the honeybees;
this morning I saw light kiss
the silk of the roses
in their second flowering,
my late bloomers
flushed with their brandy.

As if reaching for the right metaphor, or words with which to capture the moment, the speaker makes a few different attempts, leading to a cumulative vision whose whole is more effective than its parts.

Like Kunitz, think of a scene, object, or picture and describe it in a series of different ways, letting the profusion of images, metaphors, and colors generate an elaborate and multi-textured vision.  Use as much detail as possible and recreate the scene in such a way that someone reading your poem could visualize exactly what you’re seeing.

Now ask someone to read your poem — this is where this gets fun! — and draw the scene you have attempted to describe.  Notice which details and images the reader picks up in their drawing, and how they ascertain larger things like background, setting, and atmosphere.

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