For this prompt you are going to write about “leaving.” You can approach it in any way that you want. Make sure you are the one leaving. You can leave anything, it doesn’t have to be a place. 

What I want you to avoid is building up to the poem. As poets, we sometimes tend to start with lines of cover and fluff and them move to the crux of what we really want to talk about. It’s an safe way to get into the vulnerability of the piece. It is also not needed. 

This is different than the use set ups (leading to a twist) or the work done to set a scene. Those build ups are functional. We want to draw the reader\listener into the poem. Not drag them into it.

A great way to engage from the beginning of the poem is to start with the subject doing something or saying something. It is a natural catalyst for forward progress. It sparks curiosity about what is going on. Now that you are moving ahead with the poem you can work backwards and you move forward providing any needed insight into how things got here. 

You want to establish what is going on and the why it is happening or needed to happen. Don’t forget to make it clear in the poem what it all means. This trifecta, what is happening, why is it happening (or needs to happen), and what it means, is the framework of your approach to the poem. This is how you create room for the reader/listener to be immersed in the poem. It is also where those “ah-hah” moments come from. Those moments of realization, understanding, and shared emotion that make the poem resonate deeply. 

End the poem strong and declaratively. Remember you are leaving or you left. Make it the closing moment you deserve. 

Here are three great examples:

Movement Song” by Audre Lorde

B______” by Carolyn Kizer

At the San Francisco Airport” by Yvor Winters