Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Exercise from Julianna Baggott's Writer's Boot Camp day 2

A great writer that I once workshopped with is Julianna Baggott. She is running a summer writer's boot camp at if anyone is interested.

I've been working on it daily and when I write something delicious, I'll post it here. I found one exercise on day two to be amazing. I thought I'd post it here if anyone wants to try it.

She had you go to the table of contents of a poetry anthology you've never read (her example used Sharon Olds) and pick a poem. Then write a poem with the same title (without reading it of course). She says that tables of contents can be great prompts.

I agree.

I love the poem I wrote. I chose the title "The Unborn." It was great that I didn't read the poem before because the actual poem is BRILLIANT. I still like mine, but I love hers. Here are the two...

The Unborn- Christie Gardiner
In a way
they've ruined my life-
or at least what I thought it was.
I hear them at night when I'm falling asleep
sitting up with that sick mother feeling...
little empty whispers
slip and slither through my ears.
I've given them years
and blood.

The Unborn- Sharon Olds
Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads,
Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,
The children we could have,
The glimmer of them.

Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing
In some antechamber - servants, half-
Listening for the bell.

Sometimes I see them lying like love letters
In the Dead Letter Office

And sometimes, like tonight, by some black
Second sight I can feel just one of them
Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea
In the dark, stretching its arms out
Desperately to me.


  1. Me too!
    It is a gentle and beautiful talent that you have.

  2. I want to do this exercise with you--if only I could get a second!!!