Vermont Poet, Musician and Editor Ben Aleshire. Ben founded and edits the Vermont Literary Journal The Salon.
This week's Write the Book Prompt was inspired by the interview you heard today with Ben Aleshire. During our talk, Ben read his own "Autumn Poem" that featured, among other things, a stallion. He read another, "The Cock Fight," that featured roosters being set against one another in a cock fight. He also read "After Innocence," a poem by local writer Edie Rhoades that featured swans.
Read the following lines from those poems, maybe listen again to those parts of the interview. Then consider animals you've watched and how their beauty or grace, violence or playfulness might be represented on the page using specific detail and precise image. Now ... write!
The swans feed and come up
first the white rumps high over the water
black feet crabbed and kicking, then
duckweed draped in strings over their bills.
Symbols of grace and flight. The one pure white –
the adult male – I’ve seen him hiss and hunch his wings
stampede across the pond’s face heavy with rage.
This is what swans do.
~ From 'After Innocence' by Edie Rhoads
A different death. Blood, too - lots of it,
crusting in the sand with bits of feather
as the trainers clutch the birds to their hearts,
roosters shivering with muscles ready
to kill, their neck feathers
flaring out like cobra's hoods:
Chile y Blanco, Speckled and White –
~ From 'The Cockfight' by Ben Aleshire
black and shimmering
muscles popping his
nostrils flare his hot breath
streams out in violent puffs
like the barrel of a gun.
~ From 'Autumn Poem' by Ben Aleshire
Good luck with this prompt and please listen next week for another.
Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students).
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