The week before Easter was FIT's spring recess, and on Tuesday, I went up to visit Ravi Shankar's poetry writing classes and give a reading at Central Connecticut State University. Ravi, not to be confused with the legendary sitar player (whose 89th birthday happened to be that very day), is a brilliant poet, editor, and teacher, and a generous host.
I gave the students a couple of exercises, including a "common objects" prompt I stole from Kim Addonizio's Ordinary Genius (and Kim admits she adapted from one used byRebecca Brown). Basically, you find two ordinary objects in your sight and write about them as if one object is in love with the other. I was fortunate to have some perfect examples to hand, from Brendan Constantine's Letters to Guns. As the book's title implies, several of the poems are framed as letters to guns from another object, once closely related, now separated. Example: "to a Taurus model .38 special from a woman's flannel night-gown, San Bernardino, California, 1999.
Ravi reported back that he was delighted with the work students turned in the following week--I'm hoping he will send some of their poems my way!