Writing Prompts for Stay-At-Home Writers: Matthew Minicucci

Mathew Minicucci

Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of  Writing Prompts for Stay-at-Home Writers. Today’s prompt is from Matthew Minicucci.

Matthew Minicucci’s most recent collection, Small Gods (New Issues), won the 2019 Stafford/Hall Oregon Book Award in Poetry. His poetry and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from numerous journals including The Believer, POETRY, The Southern Review, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the Stanley P. Young Fellowship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and a Writer-in-Residence fellowship from the James Merrill House. Last summer, he served as the 43rd Dartmouth Poet-in-Residence. 

Matthew shared the following prompt:

Changing Perspectives/The Animal Piece

“One of the difficulties a lot of writers have is removing themselves from the equation. I know that sounds a bit strange, as we’re the ones writing. How can we remove ourselves?  Obviously, we never really do, but often times you’ll find yourself working in the same voice, the same person (“I”, usually), the same perspective. 

To change this perspective, I’m asking you to write either about or from the perspective of an animal.  

For the purposes of this exercise, you’ll have to choose a single animal (usually one you most identify with, though it could be any animal), and write either a poem or a piece of flash prose about it. 

The point of view of this poem is variable, and part of a series of important choices you need to make. It really depends on the writer. How approach perspective in the poem will dictate a lot about what you’re trying to accomplish in the piece, and why.   

For example:

  •  A third person objective perspective: The ostrich is a large flightless bird.
  •  A third person close perspective: Boo is 18, sick, and curls his head into my arm at the vet. 
  • A second person instructional perspective: To fly, you begin by jumping, or falling
  •  A first-person perspective: I wonder what language these claw scratches are in.   

Where you go with the piece is entirely up to you. But use this opportunity to find a focus outside of your own mind and your own perspective.”


Along with several other writers, Matthew’s current reading recommendations can be found on the Poetry Foundation website. Tune in next Tuesday for a prompt from Laura Lampton Scott. 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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