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Writing Prompts for Stay-At-Home Writers: Kim Stafford

Welcome to Friday’s edition of Prompts for Writers. Today’s writer is Kim Stafford.

Kim Stafford is the Poet Laureate of Oregon and author of several books of poetry and nonfiction, including Wild Honey, Tough Salt.

He offered the following prompt: “Write a poem that joins naming what is most difficult in the world with what is most beautiful…terror, honey, pestilence, child…”

As an example of a response to this prompt, Kim provided a poem of his own:

Easy Pickings

It’s easy to laugh in the blueberry field,
staccato plink and plunk as berries plummet
into the pail, and you hear children banter
in a dozen languages among the green rows.

It’s easy to forgive there, too —
viewing old betrayals sweetly diminished
by the honeyed crush of berries
on your tongue.

It’s even possible to imagine peace
between people who hated each other
before their children met between these rows
and asked one another, “Shall we pick together?”

Come pick with me, my enemy, my angry self,
come, split couple bickering over money,
come to the blueberry field, Palestine & Israel,
come bow and squint under the sun-splashed leaves,

come peer into these dark shadows for blue.



Tune in next Tuesday for a prompt from Ramiza Koya, author of The Royal Abduls. Let us know how you’re doing, and how your writing is going. Email Susan Moore, Director of Programs for Writers, at susan@literary-arts.org.

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