Considerations of Stealing in “Stolen Gratitude”

My friend and I are both trying to keep a writing discipline. . . a poetry discipline. So this past Saturday, I picked her up and we went to a local coffee shop that has a ‘silent’ room. This silent room was key because we are chatty.

We brought notebooks and pens. I brought a ‘prompt’ and “Wild Gratitude” by Edward Hirsch. It’s not a special book it just happened to be in my hand when we made the plan. The prompt came from a Facebook post. . . I warned her that I was going to ‘steal’ it.

So we started with: “Have you noticed that even the eggs have been down-sized?”.

My friend Alyce was off and running with this. I heard the line to be repeated as in a villanelle or a triolet but I couldn’t pull from memory how the lines are repeated. So I madly thumbed through “Wild Gratitude” thinking Mr. Hirsch would have one in there but no. . .sigh.  (Noted to self: make cheat sheet of forms)

What I did then was write out the first line in the first poem in the book. Then went to the second, forming a poem, working with lines that are not mine. . .yet. I was stealing which is not cheating. As I tried to weave my purloined parts all of a sudden the eggs came in to play. . . and now I feel like I’m a working a collage, overlapping lines from my own imagination and stolen lines and trying hard to be something new.

We adjourned to the chatty space when our muses had flown the coop to read what the other had come up with. For Alyce an long meandering piece that will be a very true poem.  I stumbled reading mine as the words felt unfamiliar, the images too familiar, the non-sequetirs popping up and tense changes.  But something newish for me to revise and play with.

It took a good deal of concentration and (for me) time to revise the draft. I wanted to use this poem and exercise as the posts for today.  As a poem goes, not sure how successful it is but as an exercise to get writing, it is excellent and I encourage anyone who’s stuck to try it.


To find poetic forms with short explanations:


Edward Hirsch (quick bio)

Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote a national bestseller about reading poetry. He has published eight books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems, which brings together thirty-five years of work. Wikipedia

for more information with a list of his books and awards:


If you don’t read poetry or would like to feel better about the poems you do read, check out Mr. Hirsch’s book: “How to Read a Poem”.  Non-poets like this book and if you love a poet, read this book!






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