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The Time Is Now, Week 19
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May 12, 2011, 5:00 AM

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 THE TIME IS NOW            MAY 12, 2011  
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Welcome to your weekly writing prompts from The Time Is Now, an online feature that offers a new poetry prompt on Mondays and a new fiction prompt on Thursdays, plus advice from writers to guide you in your writing practice. Enjoy!


This week's poetry prompt comes from Idra Novey whose debut collection The Next Country received the Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books and was included in Virginia Quarterly Review's list of Best Poetry Books of 2008. She teaches in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.  

Choose a sentence from a newspaper whose meaning gets larger and stranger when taken out of context. Use it as the first line of a poem. If you get stuck partway into the poem, try repeating just part of the line and vary how you complete the rest of the sentence, changing the meaning and music of the line each time. When you have a draft you like, try moving the full sentence to the end of the poem, or somewhere to the middle, or maybe take it out entirely. Stir, and see what happens.


Choose a bureaucracy: the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Post Office, the Army, etc. Imagine two people who work there, one a supervisor, the other an underling, and write their letters of resignation. Then write a scene where the two former co-workers meet for coffee three years later.



Each week we recommend a book--a newly published title or an invaluable classic--that will help you on your writing journey. This week's pick:



The Half-Known World: On Writing (Graywolf Press, 2008) 

by Robert Boswell



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 Poets & Writers May/June 2011
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