an original poem and PDF based on Dickinson’s model, “I heard a Fly buzz.”

To Turnitin, by Tuesday’s class, submit one document that contains both the poem and the corresponding prose commentary (i.e., the PDF).

poem instructions:

Write a poem that is written in somewhat the same way as “I Heard a Fly Buzz”; that is, write about something that is terribly significant to you–the end of the world, the beginning of the world, your death, your birth–and in the same poem write about something that is very insignificant-a leaf dropping, the sound of a footstep, the telephone ringing, combing your hair.


Don’t say what your emotions are, and don’t try to make an obvious connection between what is important and what isn’t [emphasis added]. Let them simply be happening at the same time: [for example,] “I heard something drop when the world began.” It may help if you think of it all as having happened a long time ago–if you’re thinking of another century, you can probably calmly and objectively imagine both a rose blooming and a volcano erupting. Great distances of time and space make everything begin to even out.


[If you want,] Try using very short lines and very simple words. Use dashes and extra capital letters, if they seem inspiring.


This exercise comes from Sleeping on the Wing, an anthology created by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell.