Writing Prompt from Wanda Coleman

Credit:  Rod Bradley

Credit: Rod Bradley

This romantic excerpt on writing from the essays of Pablo Neruda (translated by Stephen Kessler, Alcatrazan assemblage, 1979), extols the virtues of excellent writing and applies equally to fiction and poetry:
“The sacred law of the madrigal and the decrees of touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, the desire for justice, sexual desire, the sound of the ocean–deliberately excluding nothing–an entrance into the depths of things in an act of passionate love, and the resulting poetry stained….perhaps by sweat and use….Wow, here comes Time, with ashes… air and…water!  The anguish- and slime-bitten stone suddenly flowers with the sea’s thunder, and the little rose returns to the delicate tomb of its corolla….Nothing–and nothing lasts in poetry’s house except what’s written with blood to be heard by blood.”

Apply Neruda’s philosophy to a moment of real-life epiphany and shape it into a story that defines your interpretation.

Biography of Wanda Coleman: “The unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles,” Wanda Coleman’s books include Mercurochrome, Ostinato Vamps, The Riot Inside Me, and Jazz and Twelve O’Clock Tales. She’s the product of workshops by playwright Frank Greenwood, novelist Budd Schulberg, poets Diane Wakowski and Clayton Eshleman, and the Beyond Baroque Literary Center sessions (1968-1975).


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