amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Impromptu #13 - Esmeralda wanders in and out

Seenah Yee invites us to glean text from travel sites in today’s prompt. Instead, I went old school. I love travel guides. I have a lot of them for Paris, Montreal, New York City, Boston, Ottawa, even the Slicker’s Guide to Halifax. I adore them. They are a writer’s best friend, vade mecums.

I decided I didn’t want to write just some random travel poem, but rather I wanted to develop a character through the text that I found. I am in love with characters. I write them for fiction and for poetry. I often reimagine the lives of historical or fictional characters.


1. Comb through 14 travel guides.
2. Copy and cut up 140 eccentric or descriptive phrases that resonate.
3. Put them into a box.
4. Pull  them out one by one.
5. Use what inspires. 
6. Write poem.

As I was pulling out phrases and copying them out into my journal, I noticed that there were some recurring appearances of the Gothic, including “the belfry” and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. How could I not think of Esmeralda?

I wrote pages and pages. I used 129 of the phrases I had copied and cut up. In the end though, this short poem is what I found. It truly felt like an excavation as a previous prompter, Kristina Marie Darling, suggested about erasure.

Esmeralda wanders in and out,
depending on the angle of the light, 
remotely subversive, 
green-tiled, or jazzy.

A wayward pistol on a sacred mountain,
a slice of the city’s radiant glory,
imbibed with tenderness.
There are no euphemisms.

Play along!

For those of you who are just joining us, 
The Found Poetry Review is celebrating National Poetry Month by offering daily experimental writing prompts from writers. I will be responding to them at poetic whim.

Thanks to Seenah Yee for this evocative prompt. There are so many ways to spark the imagination.

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