A Writing Prompt from Kathleen Ossip

Each Friday we post one new writing prompt created by a Sarabande author. Prompts like this one are included in our Reader's Guides along with discussion questions and suggested reading to accompany each title. So if you can't wait a week for the next prompt, visit our Reader's Guide page to find them all in one place!

Today's prompt comes from Kathleen Ossip, whose newest poetry collection, The Do-Over, published in February 2015.

Exercise: Your Last Day On Earth

One of the challenges I gave myself with The Do-Over was to be as direct and clear as I could (which may not be all that direct and clear). I wanted to try and “say” exactly what I “meant.” This quality of urgency is something I value in poetry. So… Imagine that this is your last day on earth. Freewrite for 15-20 minutes on each of the following topics:

1. Think of someone who means a lot to you, someone you’re intimate with—a child, a parent, a partner, a dear friend. Write what you would urgently want to say to him or her.

2. Your last words will be printed on the front page of the New York Times. Write what you would urgently want to tell the world.

Now make two separate poems from the freewrites.