Prompts Inspired by Heather Derr-Smith

I am reading Tongue Screw by Heather Derr-Smith and awed by the sharp-edged power of her images. I first discovered her poetry on Twitter and deeply admire her work. She has two other collections The Bride Minaret, 2008, and Thrust, 2017.

For the first prompt, use the last line from her poem “Wilson’s Promenade, Sarajevo, and Leonard Cohen” as a ghost line: “Our hearts all galloping resurrection hooves.” Here is the link for the full poem. I particularly love the image “a blur of Lazarus bandages unraveling[.]”

For the second prompt, redraw the map of the world onto a body, a living one or a carcass as the poet does onto the “sutures of a dead wolf’s skull” in the poem “Tracking” pasted below.

What changes when we shift the continent of Europe onto a field mouse, Antarctica onto a fallen leaf, the Southern Hemisphere on a child’s upraised palm. What shrinks into insignificance? What is magnified? If you wish to think more of perspective and how inaccurate the Mercator map is, look at the site


For a third prompt, ask yourself what would you find of yourself within the infinite. An endless vortex of regret, similar to Jupiter’s eye? A somersaulting childlike wonder? The tide’s endless grasping and pushing?