“Last week someone asked me what topic I never want to see again in a poem and without hesitation I said, “Trump’s America.” I’m so sick of Trump’s America poems. I’ve been reading about 50 of them a week for the last year and a half—and that’s not an exaggeration. Over 3,000 Trump poems like an assault on my brain. I think readers are getting a little tired of them, too.
But then, still, you inevitably read the 3,001st, by Meg Pokrass, and have that little flash of goosebumps feeling that comes with a good poem, especially one with a really good last line. So you can’t help but publish it. I also love the dreamy, sleepwalking feeling.” -Timothy Green, Rattle Editor
From May 18 – June 18
Where: Courses will be taught in a private Facebook Group
Description: I’ll post a prompt/exercise 2 times per week from May 15-June 15. Students will write and share their stories with others in the workshop. Group members will be able to comment (give feedback) on all stories. However, we will only accept encouraging, helpful comments. Each student/member will be responsible for saving their stories after the workshop concludes. To sign up for this, e-mail me at email@example.com. Or else, you can message me on Facebook if we’re friends there. This course will take place in a [Secret] Facebook Group dedicated to this workshop only. Exercises given each Tuesday and Sunday.
American writer, Meg Pokrass, is a flash fiction writer, poet and writing tutor. Her books include flash fiction collections, Bird Envy (2014), Damn Sure Right (Press 53 2011) The Dog Looks Happy Upsidedown (Etruscan Press, 2016) and an award-winning book of prose poetry Cellulose Pajamas (Blue Light Book Award Winner 2015) and the forthcoming Sex In Siberia (Pelekinesis, 2018). Meg’s flash appears the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton, 2015). Among her many other publications, she has a flash-fiction novella and essay on the form in My Very End of the Universe, Five mini-novellas in flash and a Study of the Form published by Rose Metal Press. Meg judged flash fiction contests internationally, and serves as a fiction curator for Great Jones Street Press, and Talent Curator for the Bath Flash Fiction Festival.
Write a story in which the main character is trying not to do something and is fighting a very tough uphill battle. For example, write a story about a person who is trying to resist the urge to smoke. Let’s see the struggle.
Choose a title of a song you recently heard. Then, remember 5 words from the song. Write a story that incorporates both the title of the story (or you can use the title of the song as the working-title) and try to use at least 5 words from that song. The story doesn’t have to have anything to do with what the song is about.
Write a story that incorporates random facts that you remember.
This William Stafford poem sets a nice example:
Things I Learned Last Week
by William Stafford
Ants, when they meet each other,
usually pass on the right.
Sometimes you can open a sticky
door with your elbow.
A man in Boston has dedicated himself
to telling about injustice.
For three thousand dollars he will
come to your town and tell you about it.
Schopenhauer was a pessimist but
he played the flute.
Yeats, Pound, and Eliot saw art as
growing from other art. They studied that.
If I ever die, I’d like it to be
in the evening. That way, I’ll have
all the dark to go with me, and no one
will see how I begin to hobble along.
In the Pentagon one person’s job is to
take pins out of towns, hills, and fields,
and then save the pins for later.
We all know that holidays bring unexpected moments. In my family, usually the toilet broke, or the dog would somehow devour the best part of our celebratory supper. In my first marriage, we’d always have a huge fight on Valentine’s Day. We actually came to expect it.
Write a story about a holiday brimming with unexpected moments. Or better yet, write a story about a holiday with at least 3 unexpected moments.