Daily Theme from Leap Write In!—Personae Poem

Leap Write In! by Karen BenkeWednesday’s Daily Theme (April 3) was from Leap Write In! by Karen Benke (published by Roost Books), a book of amazing writing prompts and exercises to stretch, warm, and mold your writing voice. You can start reading more prompts from Leap Write In! on Figment.

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Personae Poem

When you get tired of talking about yourself, living your life, hearing the I am, I have, I can, I want, I know of all your beliefs, opinions, boasting achievements, that’s the time to adopt a mask, or someone else’s voice and point of view, for your own. Drop your story. Use this mask to speak behind and from. Slipping into and buttoning up a persona will allow you to express that which is difficult to say. Remember: in personae poems, it matters less what you’re saying than how you’re saying it.

Example:

“Hi, My Name is Rosa Parks” by Helen

All I did was sit down
and it wasn’t such a good seat either
just a seat.
All I did was sit down
and keep on sitting.
So what if a white man asked for my seat?
So what?
I got here first. It’s mine.
The seat is mine.
And pretty soon all Blacks were saying it.
“This seat is mine.”
“This seat is mine.”
“. . . and if you tell me otherwise,
I won’t say it again.
I won’t even try sitting down again.”

So the white folks finally said the seat was ours.
The history books say it was me who caused it
but I don’t think so.
It was all of us,
and it’s not fair
for me to take all the credit.

Hi, my name’s Rosa Parks
and all I did was sit down.


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