Prompt #5

find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem.


Official scribblers, when I was a poet,
Whinged, driveling into an MFA void— 


Intolerable, as if  God were a literary milquetoast
with no poetic spine,

capable of little. An MA advisor.
If weird line breaks mean anything at all—

totally done with that.

Tepid sort of academic brown-nosing,
tedious rehash of predictable Modernism

obfuscating in rarefied tones, in some chapbook
boringly academic, same as it always was,

except offering their inferior product to no one.

And then before long, an awful new
poem is born. Cringingly dull.

Other children, when I was a child,
would at times invoke the inner light—
I misunderstood.
I thought it meant God scorches
within us, and God, like a torch,
can go out. That was so long ago.
I’ve since ceased my believing in death—
there’s no such thing.
There’s only a kind of brownout,
the whole of the globe turning
off for a moment, then shuddering
back, the same as it was,
except one person short.
And then before long, an utter new
person is born. Somebody worse.

Natalie Shapero

7 comments on “Prompt #5

  1. I will say I do not agree about the arbitrariness of line breaks, but that is unimportant and beside the point (and you might, rightly, accuse me of academic brown nosing). I very much enjoy what you did with the original poem — it is a smart deconstruction of a weak backbone that does not have the power to keep the poem upright on its own. I am particularly fond of the “totally done with that” — everything in the poem foregrounds that sentiment, and while the poem stands on sturdy feet on its own, it gains this extra dimension if read in comparison with the poem it emulates (parodies?). It is an interesting experience that makes me want to toy with the pieces…maybe I should pick up that prompt after all (I read it and immediately dismissed it. I am not one for bricolage, and I suspect we will get blackout poetry soon, but that is a different story!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sangbad says:

    Am liking your poems but probably due to your Site settings I have to effort to read them


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