Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Poems Written at Maya Stein's Tour de Word Workshop in Asheville, NC

After settling in from the drive from Raleigh to Asheville, and after being taken aback from the breathtaking view only moments earlier, I sensed I was before artists who were serious about writing and who share a love for poetry. About ten of us were there at Maya Stein's Tour de Word workshop in Asheville, and below are the poems I wrote that Maya prompted us with.
"Little Moments" Prompt--This prompt evolved from writing on sticky notes little moments that we remembered from the past year, month, or day:

Raspberry Colored Leaves
written by Stephie Goldfish
Quiet heart that settles down after a long
drive where harsh words spoken along bumpy
roads of racing cars and fast beating hearts,
calmed by the view of bright raspberry colored
leaves on a tree as we entered Asheville up on
a hill that reminds me of a park drive in my home
town that winds around distinctly situated and
procured houses. Welcomed by a yellow mailbox
and a room full of poetry writers, I should be anxious
and yet I’m not. I feel among those where I belong.

“Substitutes” Prompt--We were to bring or think of a food item that we either love or hate, and then to think how we substitute this in our lives.

Peanut M&Ms
written by Stephie Goldfish
Edna would bring the daily peanut M&Ms. Throw a bag to
each of us. I often wondered why I still had half a bag left
while my twin sister’s would be already gone. But I know the
secret of savoring each one. The candy coated layer melts and
shades my tongue a bright red, yellow, green or orange.
They didn’t have the blue ones then, but I was blue anyway.
When my nails are painted a candy apple red, my older sister
says, “They look like peanut M&Ms.” And, after the coat of red,
yellow, brown, and blue are gone, I’m left savoring the milk
chocolate until it uncovers a crunchy toasted nut.
That’s the way I eat my M&Ms, which brings some comfort
in a world where everything seems like there will be no end
to chaotic and unsettled lives.

“First Love” Prompt--First love is kind of obvious.

Journal Club
written by Stephie Goldfish
In the 6th grade journal club is where she found
her first love, but reading stories from the Herald-
Dispatch wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It wasn’t
like The New York Times. So back to Art Club where
they thought she’d be better off.
She knew someday she’d venture into this writing
life—free afternoons sipping decaf café con leches
at Nueva Victoria, reading the headlines of The Daily
News, and watching and observing millions of stories
pass by outside on the streets.

"Contrasting Poem / Object Poem" Prompt--This prompt was to be a contrasting of thoughts and ideas regarding a clothing item that we also brought with us that we love or hate.

That Pink J Lo Coat
written by Stephie Goldfish
It’s not about driving 600 miles in a nor'easter
just so I can see you for the last time. It’s not
about the last six years we’ve spent having a
home and someone to come home to. It’s not
about the way your smile tilts downward on one
side in a shyish way that says something’s up. It’s
not about a three room flat on the Upper East Side
that I want to keep because a flat in NYC is so hard
to come by. It’s not about whether you and I will be
spending the rest of our lives together. It’s not about
these divorce papers I just signed.
Yes! It’s about that pink J Lo coat I just bought.

"Title of a Poem, Short Story, or Novel" Prompt--In this prompt we wrote a title of a poem, short story, or novel on a sticky note and then passed it to our right, and we wrote a poem with the selected title. The title I received was taken from the book titled Five Quarters of the Orange

Five Quarters of the Orange
written by Stephie Goldfish
Five quarters of the orange is all I ate
that day because Dr. Zins said to eat
everything in half.
Like in Jeremiah where he was told to
eat in portions. I ate all my vegetables
though. I was hungry and starved and
to have that NY slice of pizza that Kim
brought me. But Dr. Zins declared, “Stephanie,
I’m surprised! You know that’s not good for you.”
So five quarters of the orange is all I ate.

Lost Highways & Living Rooms is a compilation of writing created from Maya Stein's "Tour de Word" workshops in the fall of 2010, as well as contributions from readers of her ongoing 10-line Tuesday weekly poetry newsletter. The two-month tour took Maya on a circumnavigational trip around the United States and parts of Ontario, where she facilitated nearly 30 workshops for children, teens, and adults. Lost Highways & Living Rooms features poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from more than 60 contributors ages 8-80.

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