Tag Archives: Joanne Merriam

NaPoWriMo poem & prompt #19

The “I Remember” poem… free write for at least ten minutes, not stopping to think, starting with “I remember” every time you run out of juice. If I remember correctly, I originally read this prompt in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and she suggested simply writing “I remember I remember I remember I remember I remember” until you get unstuck, the theory being that if you keep the pen moving, the words will come more easily (eventually!). Try taking deep breaths and letting whatever associations come with whatever you smell (and see) guide your memories. Once you’ve written several pages (or screens) worth of material, become more deliberate and look for memories that relate—by smell, by the emotions they evoke, by subject matter, whatever—and rearrange and edit them into a poem. If you like, edit out the “I remembers.”

Some poems involving memories: “Now, I know you remember so and so” by Doris Davenport; “I Hardly Remember” by Rafael Guillén (translated by Sandy McKinney); “Help Me to Salt, Help Me to Sorrow” by Judy Jordan; “Re Member Ies” by Joanne Merriam; “Father Listens to the Artists” by David Petruzelli; “Mnemosyne” by Trumbull Stickney.