Creative Writing

Kerouac’s 1993 Gap Ad

“Kerouac wore khakis,” states a 1993 Gap advertising campaign. The creators airbrushed photos taken of the writer by Jerry Yulsman, who followed Kerouac around Greenwich Village in 1958 for Pageant Magazine.

The photo was one of many of Kerouac’s belongings sold off in auctions by feuding relatives during the 1990s. An original photo from the collection is pictured below.

The First Poems of Famous Writers

Below are some of our favorite writers and their very first poems ever written. What do you think? Which are your favorite? Can you see where their style started from? Do these poems inspire you? Let us know in the comments below!

William Shakespeare

“Untitled” (1582) (1 year before he had a poem published)

Those lips that Love’s own hand did make
Breath’d forth the sound that said I hate
To me that languish’d for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come.
Chiding that tongue, that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom:
And taught it thus anew to greet:
‘I hate’ she alter’d with an end
That follow’d it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,
And sav’d my life, saying ‘not you’

Tamara Trujillo’s Summer Creative Writing Class at Fullerton College

Tamara Trujillo is offering, for the second time ever in Fullerton College’s history, a Creative Writing course over the summer session. What makes her qualified to teach such a course? Not only is she a professor at Fullerton College, but she is also a published author. Much of Tamara’s poetry has been published and we are lucky enough to have one of her unpublished poems to share with you today.

Homemade

Most nights, the sewing machine whirred from my parents’ room next door, mother obsessed with perfection. It was a tedious process: pairing our hopes in the shape of a pattern, selecting fabric for the thin paper frame, lining up seams, rethreading the machine, hours of holding still under the delicate prick of the needle. In the sleepy evening, I would stand in front of her long mirror as she pinned the flimsy outline around my form, tracing my body with her long, natural nails. She would sit with her tanned, slim legs tucked under her as she hemmed pant cuffs that flared at the end, or ankle-length dresses with bibbed fronts. If I looked down at her as she worked, I could lose myself in the crown of her expertly-coiffed beehive, swirls of brown floating me closer towards something like love but never reaching anything that ever actually fit.

Worried About Cliches?

At cliche.theinfo.org writers can paste any piece of text into a blank field, click Find Cliches, and be taken to another page that highlights any and all cliches found in red (check out the screenshot below).

The website uses cliches from The Associated Press Guide to News Writing by Rene J. Cappon, and the home page features a quote from Author George Orwell’s book Politics and the English Language:

[Political] prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.

Even if you aren’t worried about cliches present in your own writing, try it out. It’s a fun tool.

April: National Poetry Month

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? April isn’t just a month for appreciating poetry; it’s also about writing poetry.

I know, you have work.

School. Totally understandable.

A life? Yeah, we all have that too.

But this is April; this month was made for poetry, so put your excuses aside and write. Write anything. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to come from you.

April Poetry Workshop

Hello new blog users. I know you’re all new, not just because I’m awesome and have magical powers, but because this is a new blog so you all must be new. See what I did there? Logic, it’s fun.

Since everyone is new, I’m going to break down how these monthly assignments work. I give you an assignment; you do the assignment. It’s pretty simple.

Joking aside, there will be multiple levels to each assignment. Most assignments will have a base, intermediate and advanced level posted. To participate, you merely have to work on the base level. If you are looking to challenge yourself, I post the intermediate and advanced levels for you to work with.

At the end of the month, I will pick 3-5 of the best poems submitted and post them with the rationale behind why I picked those particular poems. The level of assignment does not come into play in the picking; meaning an advanced poem will not be picked over a base poem if I feel the base poem was executed better.

Once your poem is completed, click Submit Piece Here on the blog’s menu bar to be taken to a submission form. Please include a little something about yourself in the additional information section of the form.

March Poetry Workshop

March Poetry Workshop Assignment

Base assignment: write a poem, any form, about the future.

Intermediate assignment: in addition to the base assignment, three key words must be incorporated into the piece: mob, sand, and book (these are the first three words that came up in a random noun generator, if anyone was curious where I got these from).

Advanced assignment: in addition to the base and intermediate assignment, restricted to the form of rhyme royal poem. A rhyme royal poem is a 7 line poem in iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme of a-b-a-b-b-c-c. An example:

Opening to Thomas Wyatt’s rhyme royal poem:
They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.