Writing Prompts

A Writing Prompt from Kiki Petrosino

Each Friday we're posting a new writing prompt created by one of our authors. Prompts like this one are included in our reader's guides along with discussion questions and suggested further reading to accompany each title. So if you can't wait a week for the next prompt, visit our Sarabande in Education page to find them all in one place.

This week's prompt, designed to be written in pairs, comes from Kiki Petrosino, author of Hymn for the Black Terrific and Fort Red Border



Think about a word, image, or setting that you often mention in your own poems. [Ex., Do you always seem to write about the beach? Does the color blue show up a lot?]

Spend 10-15 minutes doing some focused writing, in any form, about that item. Next, swap notebooks with a partner. Look at what they’ve written about their “obsession.”

Spend a further 10-15 minutes writing about your partner’s topic from your own perspective [Yes, you will write in their notebook!].

Now retrieve your own notebook & read through your partner’s thoughts on your topic. Are you surprised by any of the language your partner used to talk about the beach or the color blue? How does it feel to have someone else write about your favorite obsession?

The goal of this exercise is to break any old habits or “go-to” phrases you might use in your poems. Your partner’s phrasing may inspire you to hunt your “white whale” in a different way.