Poetry Prompt 2 – Walt Whitman Style Imitation

We have a new poetry prompt for Creative Writing – a prompt which WOULD have been due today, but because our teacher forgot to send us the email over Spring Break like he was supposed to, it has been postponed for another week. Posting it here is partially to remind myself to get it done before the weekend, and partially so that Nabila can look at this, realize how far behind she is falling, AND POST MORE ON HER OWN LIVEJOURNAL!

Here ’tis, for Tuesday 3/30:

I’d like you all to write a poem in the style of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself (no parodies, please). Try to imitate only the style — NOT the content. The content should be your own, from your own thoughts and experience — write a song of YOURself. The voice should also be your own. What you’ll take from Whitman is his long-lined, talky style and, if you so choose, his reverent, exultant, speechy tone.

Mary Oliver characterized his style this way: "long, unscannable, usually end-stopped lines… with repetitions, catalogs, a plentitude of adjectives, which would probably be death in anyone else’s work…" and calls his tone, "rhetorical" and, "oratorical."

Make it about the same length as one of the smaller sections of Song of Myself — like the final section, #52 (which is my favorite, by the way, so if you feel like there’s too much to choose from, I might recommend looking more closely at that section for inspiration).


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