“I learned how to love, hate, tease, trick, and warp a word.”
A Poem Prompt from Elizabeth Bradfield
“Once, when I wanted to jump-start my writing life, I happened to go to a gallery opening. On display was an artist’s 52 paintings of the moon, one each week of the year. Although I didn’t particularly love the exhibit, a lightbulb went off: repetition! Repetition encourages examination and innovation within strict parameters! I decided that, every month for a year, I would choose one word—in my case: wood, ice, fish, teeth, skin, kitchen floor, bowl, west, heart, drive, grey, fruit—and every day of that month, I would write a poem that used the word. The word did not have to be the focus of the poem, but had to be in the text. I learned a lot in this process. I learned how to love, hate, tease, trick, and warp a word. I learned a bit about my own tics and habits. I learned to sit down every day, and that a little bit of structure and outside prompting could take me in directions I’d not anticipated.”
Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of the four books, most recently Toward Antarctica, and her work has been published in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, and elsewhere. Her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize from the Publishing Triangle, a Stegner fellowship, and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Founder of Broadsided Press, she works as a naturalist/guide locally as well as on expedition ships and teaches creative writing at Brandeis University.
Read our WTP interview with Elizabeth Bradfield.