Prompt for July 31 – Virtual Carson McCullers House

Our new writing circle for teen poets has begun, and I was happy to find the group willing to talk about a John Ashbery poem this week. It’s pretty hard to talk about his poems! However, I think it’s easy to feel the pressures and questions in them, which is always something that young writers find interesting. Then this morning, I shared his poem “Rain Moving In” with a group of community leaders, and there was another good reception for Ashbery’s complex style of poem, with its simultaneously critical and hopeful attitude. I’m feeling bold now… here it is for you. See if you can borrow something from the language or imagery for your own writing.

Rain Moving In
by John Ashbery

The blackboard is erased in the attic 
And the wind turns up the light of the stars, 
Sinewy now. Someone will find out, someone will know. 
And if somewhere on this great planet 
The truth is discovered, a patch of it, dried, glazed by the sun, 
It will just hang on, in its own infamy, humility. No one 
Will be better for it, but things can't get any worse. 
Just keep playing, mastering as you do the step 
Into disorder this one meant. Don't you see 
It's all we can do? Meanwhile, great fires 
Arise, as of haystacks aflame. The dial has been set 
And that's ominous, but all your graciousness in living 
Conspires with it, now that this is our home: 
A place to be from, and have people ask about.


(from The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, ed. Phillis Levin)

Join us at 7pm for our virtual salon on Zoom to share your writing and talk about this poem a bit with others. Hope to see you then!

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