Archive for January 4th 2011

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!

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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.

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~ From 'After Innocence' by Edie Rhoads

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A different death. Blood, too - lots of it,

crusting in the sand with bits of feather

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as the trainers clutch the birds to their hearts,

roosters shivering with muscles ready

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to kill, their neck feathers

flaring out like cobra's hoods:

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Chile y Blanco, Speckled and White –

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~ From 'The Cockfight' by Ben Aleshire

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black and shimmering

muscles popping his

nostrils flare his hot breath

streams out in violent puffs

like the barrel of a gun.

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~ From 'Autumn Poem' by Ben Aleshire

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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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